A new lung cancer treatment reported in a recent issue of EMBO Molecular Medicine has been in development for 6 years and involves a molecule, RK-33, that interrupts the cell cycle of lung cancer cells without harming normal cells and is effective by itself or in combination with radiation therapy. The researchers designed the RK-33 to bind to DDX3, an enzyme that helps in RNA unwinding and translating RNA into proteins. They also found that RK-33 is involved in DNA repair. Normal cells have many such enzymes, but some cancer cells, including over 90 percent of lung cancer samples studied by the researchers, over expressed DDX3. Binding DDX3 with RK-33 reduces the amount of DDX3 available causing the cancer cells to die and making radiation therapy, that damages DNA, more effective. The researchers say “We can lower the dose of radiation significantly but actually get more bang for your buck” by pretreating lung cancer cells with RK-33. Further research is ongoing in multiple cancer types, including breast cancer, prostate, sarcoma and colorectal cancer.