New technology lures cancer cells out of hiding

A weak spot has now been found in the defenses of cancer cells that can be exploited to eliminate all traces of cancer in one fell swoop. This is shown…

A weak spot has now been found in the defenses of cancer cells that can be exploited to eliminate all traces of cancer in one fell swoop. This is shown by a recent study.

When cancer patients finish chemotherapy, they usually do not immediately receive a declaration of full recovery, even though the tumor is no longer visible on images.

Patients must subsequently attend regular check-ups to ensure that the disease does not suddenly return – especially if the cancer has been in the bladder, lymph nodes or ovaries.

Scientists have known for a long time that some types of cancer cells can go into a kind of hibernation, and the lesion can remain hidden for years before suddenly reappearing.

Now, a recent study has revealed that one particular characteristic of the ability to stay is common to all cancer cells.

The discovery raises hopes for a single, coordinated treatment approach – regardless of the type of cancer – that can eradicate the lesion once and for all.

Timeline: This is how cancer develops

A cell changes

The cell can suddenly start dividing abnormally fast and does not obey normal growth signals.

The cell becomes rampant

The cell does not repair defects (mutations) in the genes, which means an increased risk of dangerous mutations occurring.

The cell becomes immortal

A mutation makes the cell immortal, i.e. the body cannot kill it. The mutated cells have now become a tumor.

Blood vessels are formed

The tumor builds new blood vessels to ensure oxygen flow to the lesion so it can continue to grow.

Attack the body

Cancer cells from the tumor travel with the vascular system around the body where they attack new organs and form metastases.

The crab sleeps like a bear in a shell

The scientists say that the dormant state of cancer can be compared to the characteristics of more than 100 species of mammals , such as bears, seals and mice, which are capable of extending pregnancy.

In this extension, the fetus gets its limited nutrition from a kind of autophagy , but the cells break down their own proteins for nourishment.

In this new study, brain experts at the University of Toronto treated large numbers of colon cancer cells in a petri dish.

During the treatment, the cells stopped all development and needed very little nutrition. The crab actually went into hibernation like a bear in its winter coat.

This must be considered quite a clever method, since chemotherapy only attacks the cells that are growing and dividing rapidly, while inactive cells are left alone.

But by adding one particular molecule to a cancer cell, the scientists were able to prevent dormancy. And then the chemotherapy immediately killed all the cancer cells in the bowl.

Cancer cells awaken from dormancy

Autophagy research is now considered among the brightest stars of hope in the future of cancer research.

The new findings show that all cancer cells are capable of eating themselves. Taken together, this knowledge potentially provides a whole new weapon in the fight against cancer.

What now needs to be done is, among other things, to transfer the new method so that it can be used in a safe and effective treatment that deactivates the dormant state and awakens the cells so that every single cancer cell becomes receptive to the chemical treatment.

Related Posts