In healthy cells, access to genetic information is tightly controlled. Before certain cell mechanisms can access the DNA strand (e.g. to repair damaged chromosomes or read the genetic code for the production of needed proteins), the chromatin in which the DNA is 'packed' must first be modified. This biochemically controlled chromatin modulation is often disrupted in tumor cells: certain DNA segments may, for example, lie open, permanently unprotected, so that the information stored there can be read at any time and translated into proteins that are needed for the growth and division of the cancer cells, thus making uncontrolled proliferation possible.
Researchers at Bayer are working on ways of restoring the original chromatin packaging with the help of medication – thereby stopping the uncontrolled growth of the cancer cells.