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7
DECEMBER 2015
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The Canadian Business Journal
“Typically, chemotherapy works by kill-
ing cancer cells, but it also damages normal
cells. That’s why there are all of these nasty side
effects,” Sherman says. “So if you can eliminate
the side effects and the toxicity, you can then, in
theory, provide a sufficient dose to kill the cancer
and cure the patient.”
What is Alpha
Fetoprotein?
The AFP is a shuttle protein that transports nutri-
ents to fast growing fetal cells. It also functions
as an immune regulatory protein protecting
the fetus from the mother’s immune system.
Sherman explains that the protein enters cells
through specific receptors found on every
embryonic cell. During pregnancy, AFP is
secreted into the mother’s bloodstream where
it picks up (binds) nutrients required by rapidly
growing fetal cells. AFP continues circulating in
the bloodstream until it encounters AFP recep-
tor on a fetal cell. It then binds this receptor and
the the receptor/AFP complex with its nutrient
payload are transported into the cell where AFP
unloads the nutrients. AFP then exits the cell and
continues the cycle shuttling nutrients from the
mother to the embryo selectively.
Sherman explains that while AFP produc-
tion stops after childbirth, most cancer cells
similar to embryonic cells express AFP recep-
tors. He says cancer cells, in many ways, revert
Chemotherapy results in toxicity as the treatment damages normal healthy cells as well as cancer cells
1,2,3,4,5,6 8,9,10,11,12
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