1,100 Words

NUS enzyme

Jamming Cancer

The combination of an old malaria drug, chloroquine, and an experimental drug, D4476, has been found to interrupt the normal functions of cancer cells, stained blue. David Virshup and Jit Kong Cheong, from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, wanted to interfere with the cancer cell's known reliance on autophagy, a form of self-destruction. The cells ended up with their surfaces clogged with digestive vacuoles (red), that effectively prevent them from obtaining nutrition. The bumpy cell just below and right of center contains condensed metaphase chromosomes, a hallmark of robust cell division in human cancers.