S. Korean scientists find new anti-cancer agent

South Korean scientists have discovered a new anti-cancer agent that may offer a new and safe way to treat cancer without the side effects of anti-cancer drugs, as the substance already exists in human bodies, the science ministry said Monday.

A team led by Prof. Kim Sung-hoon of Seoul National University has confirmed anti-cancer activities of Glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GRS), an enzyme that was previously only known to interact with other bodily substances to create protein, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

The team, however, has found that when a cancer cell is detected, the human immune system generates GRS, which in turn attacks the cancer cell.

A laboratory test has also confirmed cancer cells in mice with an injection of refined and amplified dose of GRS gradually perished while those in a controlled or untreated group continued to grow.

“Such a discovery … suggests there may be a new, different side of the immune system that we are currently unaware of,” Kim was quoted as saying.

The discovery, he added, also suggests possible treatment of cancer with bodily substances that are free of adverse reactions from drugs. (Yonhap News)

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