Researchers successfully turn breast cancer cells into fat to stop them from spreading

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Researchers have been able to coax human breast cancer cells to turn into fat cells in a new proof-of-concept study in mice.

To achieve this feat, the team exploited a weird pathway that metastasising cancer cells have; their results are just a first step, but it’s a truly promising approach.

When you cut your finger, or when a foetus grows organs, the epithelium cells begin to look less like themselves, and more ‘fluid’ – changing into a type of stem cell called a mesenchyme and then reforming into whatever cells the body needs.

This process is called epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and it’s been known for a while that cancer can use both this one and the opposite pathway called MET (mesenchymal‐to‐epithelial transition), to spread throughout the body and metastasise.

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Researchers create decoy protein that may stop cancer from spreading

A laboratory researcher in a file photo. REUTERS/Sebastian Derungs

The decoy protein significantly slowed metastasis in the study.

Often times, cancer begins in one part of the body and spreads elsewhere via the bloodstream or lymphatic system. This spreading, called metastasis, makes the disease deadly and difficult to halt—even using chemotherapy drugs with serious side effects.

 

 

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Why Are A Majority Of People Resistant To Cancer?

Why Are A Majority Of People Resistant To Cancer? 

 Dividing cancer cells

Every year, millions of people are diagnosed with cancer – a remarkably high number. But what about the flipside of those statistics? That is, two out of three people never get cancer, and more than half of heavy smokers don’t get cancer, either. A recent study points out this overlooked fact, and suggests that researchers might discover something by asking why so many people are resistant to the often deadly disease.

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