Cancer cells are characterized by rapid cell division. Many traditional chemotherapies focus on this trait, killing cells that divide quickly. However, such approaches also kill or hinder healthy tissue where cell division is taking place (for example, hair follicles & intestines). This can cause serious side effects. Therefore, it is important to find traits of cancer cells that healthy cells do not have, so we can develop cancer treatments that exploit these differences.
One known difference between cancer cells and healthy cells, is that cancer cells tend to have difficulties copying their DNA accurately, resulting in many faults and making the cancer cells unstable. They use a cornucopia of repair mechanisms to survive this inherent instability. This project will document the various repair mechanisms and attempt to unravel how they work.
By understanding how cancer cells manage to survive despite their instability, we can develop means to sabotage these repairs and make the cancer cells vulnerable.