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An Australian study has identified a potential treatment method for aggressive cancer types, which currently leave sufferers with very few options.

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Scientists from the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) in Sydney and St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research (SVI) in Melbourne, said on Tuesday that they had successfully identified a mechanism to stop the reproduction of certain cancerous cells.

“Normal cells know when to stop dividing due to structures at the ends of chromosomes called telomeres,’’ senior author, associate professor Hilda Pickett from CMRI told Xinhua.

Cancer cells overcome the telomeres telling them to stop dividing, essentially making them immortal.’’

“To do this, around 40 per cent of bone and soft tissue sarcomas use a mechanism called, alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT).

“There are currently no specific therapies for ALT-positive sarcomas.”

“People with this type of cancer have a 50-per cent higher rate of death, as these cancers are more resistant to current treatments,’’ co-author Dr Julienne O’Rourke from SVI said.

The team found out that when they disrupt a particular protein called FANCM, which is essential for ALT cell viability, they could stop these types of cancer cells from dividing.