Cancer is one of the leading causes of death among adults. It’s a terrifying disease that researchers around the globe have been obsessively working to cure. Now U.S. scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Florida have made a breakthrough discovery related to how cells replicate in cancer patients, how to put a stop to the process, and how to bring cells back to normal, The Telegraph reports.
According to the research published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the scientists were able to turn cancerous cells back to normal by switching back on the process which stops normal cells from replicating too quickly, reversing a tumor.
The researchers identified the cell’s microprocessor called microRNA that controls cell growth. This biological controller instructs the cells to stop dividing the moment they have replicated sufficiently. When that happens, microRNA triggers the production of a protein called PLEKHA7, which then breaks the cell bonds and stops growth. In cancerous cells, that process doesn’t work properly.
They found that they could reverse the process switching the brakes back on and stopping cancer. MicroRNAs are small molecules which can be delivered directly to cells or tumors so an injection to increase levels could switch off disease.
“It represents an unexpected new biology that provides the code, the software for turning off cancer,” said Professor Panos Anastasiadis, of the Department for Cancer Biology.
“This is an unexpected finding. We have been trying to work out how normal cells might be suppressing cancer, and stopping dividing when they form contacts with each other, which has been a big mystery,” said Dr Chris Bakal, a specialist from the Institute for Cancer Research in London.
It’s not clear at this time when this treatment will be available to patients. Doctors now need to come up with treatment protocols for dealing with various types of cancer.
H/T: The Telegraph