cancerResearchers have zeroed in on how cancer cells are able to avoid ‘death’ like other regular cells. The process might revolutionise how we treat cancer and lead to a new chemotherapeutic approach.  Researchers have got an important new insight about how cancer cells are able to avoid the cell death process.

The findings may also suggest a chemotherapeutic approach to prevent the spread of cancers. According to Zachary T. Schafer, Coleman Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology at Notre Dame, metastasis, the spread of cancer from one organ to other parts of the body, relies on cancer cells ability to evade a cell death process called anoikis. Metalizing cancer cells are able to survive anoikis, which normally results from detachment from the extracellular matrix.

However, Schafer noted that the molecular mechanisms cancer cells detached from the extracellular matrix use to survive has not been well understood. Schafer said that their findings revealed that cancer cells that are detached from their normal environment, as they would be during metastasis, relay on the activity of antioxidant enzymes to facilitate their survival.

He said that this class of enzymes is critical for neutralizing oxidative stress and function much like the compounds that are present in a variety of foods. The paper also describes a prominent role for antioxidant enzymes in facilitating the survival of breast cancer cells after detachment from the extracellular matrix. Conversely, the researchers report, silencing antioxidant enzyme expression reduced tumour formation. The findings have been published in the journal Cancer Research.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a group of over one hundred diseases characterized by abnormal, uncontrolled cell growth. In a healthy body – cells grow, die and are replaced in a very controlled way. Damage or change in the genetic material of cells by environmental or internal factors result in cells that don’t die and continue to multiply until a massive cancer or a tumour develops. Most cancer related deaths are due to metastasis, malignant cells that penetrate into the circulatory system and establish colonies in other parts of the body. Great advancements have been made but cancer is still leading cause of death for people under 85.  Have you joined the War on Cancer?

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

With inputs from ANI

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