Some new evidence has revealed how cancer infiltrates into the human body.
Cancer cells are dependent on an unusual mechanism in order to survive and spread in the human body. A recent study revealed this process in detail. This discovery could aid humanity in its battle against metastasis and secondary tumors in the future.
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Especially metastasis or the spread of cancer throughout the body is of chief concern since it is so hard to bring to a halt. It is a big challenge since it is not the original cancer that is deadly, but the secondary growths that wreak havoc with the body of the cancer victim.
Such an occurrence is possible when cancer cells break away from their original site and migrate to other regions of the body to sow newer and deadlier growths that are hard to manage.
The major question is how cancer cells survive once they break away from their original site. It appears to be the case that as long as the cells remain attached to the original site, they cause relatively little harm and are almost benign. Yet the moment they start travelling, they make the body vulnerable to secondary growths.
Metastasis is an incurable process at present. It remains the Gordian Knot of cancer treatment. There are actually two molecules that play a role in metastasis.
To make drugs that help in cancer treatment requires a manipulation of these two molecules since they allow the cancer cells to survive in the first place. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Changes that occur when metastasis takes place in cell cultures, zebrafish and mice were noted down with scrupulosity. Molecules that have been labeled as “integrins” may play a major role in the whole scheme. They are proteins that attach to the cell surface and interact with the surrounding processes taking place inside the cell.
An outside-in and inside-out signaling by “integrins” may aid cancer cells in clasping onto various sites. When the cancer cells are floating about though, the “integrins” switch from adhesion to another role which has been labeled as inside-in.
This signaling goes on inside the cell itself. An “integrin” known as beta-1 joins up with another protein termed c-Met. They both enter the cell. They travel to the site inside the cell responsible for the degradation and recycling of cells.
When beta-1 and c-Met were not allowed to enter the cell, the metastasis process was brought to a halt. Integrin inhibitor drugs have already been made.
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The future looks bright since one fine day we may have solved the cancer enigma and a death sentence from the pronouncement of a cancer diagnosis will have become a thing of the past.