Did You Know Cancer Cells Eat Themselves To Survive?

For the first time, a team of Danish researchers has shown that cancer cells eat parts of the membrane surrounding them to survive life threatening injuries.

Cancer is a large group of diseases which develop when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. It can start in almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, when cells become damaged or die, our body makes new cells to replace them, through a process called cell division. Cancer starts when this orderly process breaks down and abnormal or damaged cells grow and multiply when they shouldn’t. Normal cells stop growing when they encounter other cells, and usually do not move around the body. But cells can invade adjoining parts of the body and/or spread to other organs. Did you know that cancer cells eat themselves to survive? Yes, it’s true.

For the first time, a team of Danish researchers has shown that cancer cells eat parts of the membrane surrounding them to survive life threatening injuries.

The cell membrane acts as the skin of the cells, and any damage to the membrane can be life threatening. As the interior of cells is fluid, if there’s a hole in the membrane, the cell floats out and dies. The new study showed that cancer cells can repair the damage that can otherwise kill them, using a technique called macropinocytosis.

The cancer cells pull the intact cell membrane in over the damaged area and seal the hole in a matter of minutes. Then, the damaged part of the cell membrane is separated into small spheres and transported to the cells’ ‘stomach’ — the so-called lysosomes, where they are broken down – the researchers explained.

They also found that if the formation of the small membrane spheres is blocked, the cancer cell can no longer repair the damage and dies. This points towards macropinocytosis as a target for future treatment.

Some more lesser-known facts about cancer

Normally, our immune system eliminates damaged or abnormal cells. But the cancer cells can hide from the immune system. “Cancer cells can trick the immune system into helping them stay alive and grow. For instance, some cancer cells convince immune cells to protect the tumor instead of attacking it,” the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the US government’s principal agency for cancer research and training.

Some cancer cells make energy from nutrients in a different way than most normal cells, allowing them to grow more quickly.

There are more than 100 types of cancer, and they are usually named for the organs or tissues where they form. For example, lung cancer is a cancer that starts in the lung, and the one that starts in the brain is called brain cancer.

According to the World Health organisation (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, causing an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018.

The most common types of cancer in men are lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancer, while breast, colorectal, lung, cervical and thyroid cancer are the most common among women.

At least one third of common cancers are prevented by reducing behavioural and dietary risks. Modifiable risk factors include alcohol consumption, being overweight or obese, physical activity, tobacco, ionising radiation, etc.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

You May Also Like

Dr Chris warns of omega 3 supplements and heart disease risk – benefits and side effects

Dr Chris warns of omega 3 supplements and heart disease risk –…

French drug firm Valneva reports positive results from its Covid trialĀ 

French drug firm Valneva today reported successful results from its Covid vaccine…

Deep Sleep Benefits Your Heart, New Study Suggests

Scientists discovered that using “pink noise” to stimulate the brain during deep…

The 5 Monday morning habits that will make you more productive and happier

AFTER a fabulous weekend – there’s nothing worse than feeling the dread…