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Eight things you should know about cancer

Does cancer have accomplices? What do cancer cells feed on? Are tumors contagious? How can electricity help fight them? Here are eight interesting facts you should know about cancer and its evolution.

By Emby LatPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
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Infographic from World Health Organization

Protein p53

Crystal structure of four p53 DNA binding domains

The "guardian of the genome". There is a protein called p53 that, although in its "normal" state it repairs damaged DNA in cells, which is why it is nicknamed the "guardian of the genome", when it suffers a mutation it stops working and allows cancer to proliferate uncontrollably. Scientists are looking for chemical compounds that activate this protein to properly stop cancer. For example, it has been shown that one of its mechanisms of action is to detect metabolic stress and cause damaged cells to age (senescence) to prevent them from proliferating and forming tumors.

Sugar

A team of Spanish researchers from the Rey Juan Carlos University demonstrated that excess sugar in the diet increases the activity of a protein called b-catenin, which is closely related to tumor progression. This explains why epidemiological data show that the frequency of certain types of cancer can double in populations with high blood sugar levels, such as the obese or diabetics.

Infectious agents

Infectious agents, such as viruses, bacteria and parasites, are the cause of two million cases of cancer worldwide, according to an international study published in The Lancet Oncology. In other words, 16% of cancer cases worldwide in 2008 were due to a preventable or treatable infection. The main infection-related cancers are those associated with Helicobacter pylori bacteria and papilloma, hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses.

Breast cancer, ten instead of one

What we currently call breast cancer should be considered as ten different diseases, according to a groundbreaking British and Canadian study published in the journal Nature. The new classification, based on the genetic fingerprint of tumors, could improve treatment by allowing drugs to be tailored to each case, which would increase survival rates.

Caloric restriction

low calorie diet

A sustained decrease in food intake over time results in an increase in the length of telomeres - the ends of chromosomes - in adult mice, which exerts a protective effect on DNA and genetic material. These beneficial effects on chromosome youth translate into a lower incidence of cancer, among other diseases associated with aging.

Cancer and electricity

Focal Therapy symulation, screenshot - 7041

Scientists at Tufts University have identified a bioelectrical signal that can identify which cells are at risk of turning into tumors. But they not only help predict: bioelectrical signals are an important control mechanism for regulating how cells grow and multiply. So much so that scientists have shown that you could reduce the incidence of cancer cells by manipulating cell membrane voltage. Or use these signals to help damaged organs repair themselves.

Fried food

Eating french fries, battered chicken or fish and other foods fried in abundant oil at least once a week is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, as well as predisposing to a more aggressive progression of this disease, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the USA have shown.

Accomplices

To invade organs, cancer cells often need accomplices. Thus, for example, a team of researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) discovered that the capacity of colon cancer to metastasize lies in the healthy cells that surround the tumor, the so-called stroma. In an article published in Cancer Cell, the scientists also show that by eliminating TGF-beta signaling in the stroma it is possible to block the initiation of metastasis.

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© Emby Lat

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About the Creator

Emby Lat

I like movies, technology, games, art and anything that I find interesting.

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