UCLA researchers hail breakthrough in head and neck cancer treatment

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Researchers from the UCLA School of Dentistry have hailed a breakthrough in the treatment of head and neck cancer.
A new study, led by a team at the dental school, suggests that targeting a vulnerability in the cellular process within the tumour can impact duplication, improving the response to treatment.

The team focused on an enzyme known as KDM4A, which is known to influence replication and increase spread when produced in excessive quantities. Head and neck cancer has a relatively low five-year survival rate and a poor prognosis, particularly when cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage.

During the study, researchers removed the KDM4A enzyme in a group of mice. The results indicated that spread to the lymph nodes was reduced significantly. Lowering the risk of spread to the lymph nodes further reduces the chances of metastasis of cancerous cells to other parts of the body.

The process also activated a T-cell response in the mice. T-cells are an important component of the immune response. In this study, they destroyed cancer cells and helped to trigger inherent immunity against the tumour.

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