New Findings Can Bring a Medical Breakthrough in Cancer Research

Scientists discovered energetic cancer cells that might be responsible for the spread of cancer

What we have known for long about the process of cancerous cells spreading is that it all starts when normal cells lose their ability to control their own life-progress. Instead of dying at the time the others do, they start to multiply themselves with no limit, and they will be able to spread even to other tissues in the body.

In new research published recently in the journal Frontiers in Oncology, scientists found that there seems to exist a very unique cancer cell which is much more harmful than the others, and they might be the key in understanding the aggressive spread and growth progress of cancer.

Cancer cells spreading. Source: phys.org

As a next step, they wanted to know how much of these cells – called energetic or origin cancer cells – are to be found in the total cancer cell population. They found that these energetic cancer cells have a presence of 0.2% among the total cancer cell population. These cells have their very specific characteristics,  therefore they are being considered a separate subcategory. Their mitochondria creates much more energy than normal cancer cells and their proliferation rate shows also a higher number. These two factors make them more likely responsible for creating and spreading tumors.

Professor Federica Sotgia, a co-author from the University of Salford says they are now looking for the answer of how these cells materialize. Where do they come from? They believe that the dying progress of the normal cells creates these defective cells, they are born from senescent cells. They found during the research that in the original cancer cells a certain biomarker of senescence (known as p21-WAF) was circa 17 times higher than in the others. That’s a huge difference. It seems that the energetic cancer cells do not simply take over the senescence volume of the dying cell, but somehow they also boost it to their advantage.

Newly discovered energetic cancers cells are more malignant than the others. Source: verywellhealth.com

Professor Sotgia’s college, Senior Author Michael Lisanti summarizes the finding that energetic cancer cells behave like an insane spree killer, breaking through all the lines and spreading malignant cells, at last creating a tumor. The team did find that famous needle in the haystack, and they are all extremely excited to have been able to open a new window in cancer research. The final goal is to stop cancer once and for all. “And we might do it” – he closes his words.  

For the future, the researcher team would like to adapt this finding into practice: to target directly these origin cells during cancer treatments. With this, they hope to stop the spread of cancer from the original tissue that causes the death of many patients all around the world.

New findings can bring a breakthrough in cancer research. Source: nuhealings.com

Today, cancer kills an estimated 9.6 million people globally, every year. According to the data of the World Health Organization cancer is the second leading cause of death, and 1 in 6 deaths are linked to cancer. Let’s hope the researchers can find the answers very soon.

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