A team of American scientist at theMayo Clinic have for the first time ever successfully changed cancerous cells to normal benign cells.
Although the procedure has only been performed on human cells in a lab, researchers are hopeful that the technique will be used to stop aggressive breast, lung and bladder cancer cells from spreading.
“The scientists discovered that the glue which holds cells together is regulated by biological microprocessors called microRNAs. When everything is working normally the microRNAs instruct the cells to stop dividing when they have replicated sufficiently. They do this by triggering production of a protein called PLEKHA7 which breaks the cell bonds. But in cancer that process does not work,” The Telegraph explains. “ Scientists discovered they could switch on cancer in cells by removing the microRNAs from cells and preventing them from producing the protein.”
The Telegraph described the process as essentially putting the brakes on cell growth.
Scientists however are wary about people getting ahead of themselves with this breakthrough.
“There’s a long way to go before we know whether these findings, in cells grown in a laboratory, will help treat people with cancer,” Henry Scowcroft, senior science information manager at Cancer Research UK. “But it’s a significant step forward in understanding how certain cells in our body know when to grow, and when to stop. Understanding these key concepts is crucial to help continue the encouraging progress against cancer we’ve seen in recent years.”
What a great step forward in the fight against cancer!
Matt Lee is a Web producer for Metro New York. He writes about almost everything and anything. Talk to him (or yell at him) on Twitter so he doesn’t feel lonely @mattlee2669.