Recent Cancer Research Discovery Could Provide Major Answers
A recent discovery through research could hold major answers to the world's cancer problem.
According to a story from FreeThink*, researchers have discovered how cancer cells are able to spread.
The majority of cancers, according to the Cleveland Clinic, can spread to other parts of the body, outside of their places of origin. This process is called metastasis, which is where we get the name "metastatic cancer".
When cancer forms, it is usually located on one organ or in one part of the body. As cancer develops, most types eventually move to other areas of the body if left untreated.
We know that once cancer reaches the lymph nodes, the chances are higher that it can return to other parts of the body if not successfully treated. We also know that once cancer gets into the bloodstream, it can spread throughout the body, again - if not successfully treated.
So what is the new discovery and how is it helping researchers understand the spread of cancer?
According to the story, researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered a protein cell structure that appears to be responsible for the spread of cancer.
The structure is called NALCN, which is an acronym for Sodium Leak Channel, Non-Selective.
The structure, Freethink reports, acts as "a key regulator of metastasis, or the spread of cancer.
NALCN regulates the flow of sodium in and out of the cells.
When researchers blocked the NALCN structures from doing their job in lab studies, they found that it altered the way cancer behaved, noticing an increased amount of tumor cells moving through the body.
The studies, according to the story, were done on mice.
The research also showed that when the NALCN structures were blocked in mice that did not have cancer, healthy cells "were also released and circulated throughout the body.
Not only is this discovery a possible major breakthrough in cancer research, it may also lead to a better understanding of how we can repair damaged organs.
The research showed that when the NALCN structure in one healthy organ was blocked, that organ shed healthy cells which then traveled to another organ and became part of that organ.
Specifically, researchers discovered that healthy cells from the pancreas of a mouse not only moved to the kidney of the mouse, but the pancreas cells became healthy kidney cells.
A better understanding of this process could spell huge strides in advancements for organ and tissue repair.
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