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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 23:24 GMT 00:24 UK
Cancer cell research 'discovery'
Understanding cell division is seen as important in tackling disease
Experts say they have made a discovery which could help improve treatment of diseases like cancer.

The Dundee University team found that the way the body's cells divided to avoid such conditions was contrary to conventional views.

It is hoped the discovery will lead to a better understanding of cancer, which is caused by cells dividing and multiplying out of control.

The findings have been reported in the scientific journal Cell.

Understanding cells

Dr Tomo Tanaka, of the university's school of life sciences, likened the process to the principle of the car assembly line, invented by Henry Ford.

Dr Tanaka said: "It was a revolutionary idea in industry that products move along a line and engineers stay at fixed places to assemble them.

"This achieved much more accuracy and efficiency in manufacturing products."

He added: "Similarly cells can copy DNA accurately and efficiently by moving it through a stationary copying machine, rather than by moving the copying machinery along stationary DNA.

"Because errors in DNA copying cause human diseases such as cancers, it is crucial to understand how our cells organize the copying of DNA in space and time."

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