Researchers working on anticancer drugs have recently made a ground breaking discovery in the treatment of tumor cells.”Chink in the armor of cancer cells” is the term which is given to the weakness of these tumor cells.This discovery was made by researchers who were studying several inhibitors including HDAC for cancer cells. Their study revealed that HDAC family is one such inhibitor which restricts the growth of cancer cells in culture medium. As of now, it has not been confirmed yet that this “Chink in the armor of cancer cells” is clinically effective against tumor cells.

The main function of the histone protein, which is present in the cells, is to bind the genetic material and also keep it intact. The role of histone deacetylase enzyme or HDAC is to remove acetyl groups from histone protein. This removal of acetyl group leads to the availability of the genetic material for transcription. The one big side effect is that the standard substances used to inhibit HDAC blocks all the members of HDAC inhibitor family. This causes the healthy cells to be damaged by these substances along with the cancer cells.

Recently researchers have found out that HDAC11 targets only cancer cells and not the healthy cells. This study has also shown that cancerous cells of liver, breast, etc produce high levels of HDAC11, which is a member of the HDAC family.  Therefore, some of these inhibitors are being developed into drugs in order to inhibit only the cancer cells and not the normal cells.

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