New Research Provides Insight into How Cancers Develop

Cancer cells - 3d RenderingA study carried out by Cancer Research UK has shown that cancers need a ‘perfect storm’ of conditions to be able to develop.

Carried out at the Cambridge Institute, this research gives a clearer picture than ever before of why and how cancers develop, and why some organs are more likely to develop the disease. This research could prove invaluable in learning how to prevent and best treat many different kinds of cancer.

The researched focused on the role of stem cells, which replicate to repair damage, or create other cells that the body needs. Certain stem cells can end up with random mistakes in their DNA, or certain environmental factors can increase the likelihood of these mistakes. This includes things like smoking, drinking, and obesity – all things that we’ve long know increase the risk of cancer.

When damaged stem cells are ‘sleeping’, no cancer develops, so the stem cells with DNA mistakes aren’t able to cause cancer alone. The problem begins when these cells with DNA mistakes start to replicate, to repair some sort of damage or wear and tear. The ‘faulty’ stem cells then develop into a cancer.

For a patient to develop a cancer, there has to be a ‘perfect storm’ of factors at play. There has to be something in the body that needs to be healed, plus the stem cells with DNA mistakes to begin replicating. That’s why certain areas where the stem cells are most active, such as the colon, are common sites for cancer.

One scientific debate that this study aims to resolve is whether cancer is just down to bad luck, or whether environmental and lifestyle factors have a greater proportion of blame. The study showed that cancer requires three separate things in order to grow; tissue damage, stem cell DNA mutations, and the activation of these mutated stem cells.

Some other findings in the study included the fact that DNA mistakes in stem cells build up as you get older, which accounts for the risk of cancer being higher as you age.

To carry out the study, researchers used mice that had modified cells which produced a fluorescent green protein when ‘switched on’. This allowed them to track what happened to the cells in various organs and at different stages of their lives. For example, when the mice had damaged livers, researchers were able to see the cells divide rapidly and tumours formed.

By being able to replicate how cancers are formed, this could open up the potential of cancer research, and mean that preventative medicines and new treatments could be coming to the market.

‘Mini Organs’ Grown from Stem Cells Could Personalise Treatments For Cystic Fibrosis Patients

bd1487ce-3935-457e-830e-022a0318f97aTreatments for illnesses such as cancer and cystic fibrosis could soon become more personalised, thanks to a technique that grows organoids from stem cells.

When being treated for serious illnesses, many patients will suffer side effects from their medication, and it’s not always possible to predict how the body will react, or how effective treatment will be. By taking a sample of stem cells, researchers at University Medical Centre Utrecht have been able to grow ‘mini organs’ known as organoids. They can then test different drug combinations on these organoids, and see how they react.

These experiments give doctors a much clearer picture of how effective certain treatments will be. It means that they don’t have to rely on the results of clinical trials, and can personalise medicine to each patient’s needs. This is especially helpful in cases of Cystic Fibrosis, where there often aren’t enough patients to carry out effective studies.

So far, doctors in the Netherlands have treated 1,500 patients with this technique, and have successfully helped many cystic fibrosis sufferers. It’s also beginning to be utilised in cancer cases.

Only one biopsy is needed to harvest the stem cells, and the same sample can be used over and over, which means fewer tests for the patient. Not only can they build one organoid and run tests, but researchers can build an entire mini-system to see how different organs might react to various medicines.

Professor Dr Kors van der Ent, who is heading the research, told the Daily Express “Some of these patients were waiting for lung transplants, but can now be found on the hockey pitch again thanks to the right medication. Their lives have completely changed.”

This news again shows the potential that stem cells have to treat diseases, and give patients a better quality of life.

Human bodies fail with age. Science can finally overcome this built-in obsolescence

Human bodies are the product of millions of years of evolution and they are far from perfect. There are lots of things that nature could have done better. Things fail. However, our ancestors lived through the failings and so will we. Or perhaps not.

Developments in science in the form of stem cell therapy mean that damaged organs can now be repaired. Thus avoiding the natural lead to death.

In simple terms, if any organ or part of a human body is infected by disease, the human body will naturally react to defend itself. It will deploy white blood cells and body temperature will increase. If the body fails to destroy the micro-organisms causing the disease then the microbes will produce toxic substances and the infected organ will fail. If this is a major organ then the body will take a big hit.

A failed heart will lead to reduced cardiac output and difficulties in pumping blood through the body. A failed brain can lead to paralysis and the damage can affect other organs. Failed kidneys can lead to the inability to remove potassium from the bloodstream, which in turn can lead to abnormal heart rhythms and potentially sudden death.

Stem cell therapy can fix damaged organs and can therefore prevent a body from failing.

Cell Therapy Ltd is developing regenerative medicines that will save lives. They have an extremely unique approach towards stem cell therapy, in that, they haven’t just found one stem cell to fix all ailments, as have other stem cell companies, but they have actually been successful in pin pointing very rare and potent tissue specific stem cells. This unprecedented class of cells is then engineered into unique disease-specific cellular regenerative medicines whereby each medicine is disease specific. Thus enabling the treatment of different parts of the body with unique and precise treatment.

Science can most definitely overcome the human body’s obsolescence. If stem cell therapy can fix damaged organs rather than simply just prevent them from getting worse, as current medicine can only achieve, then humans can live longer and healthier and quality of life can be improved. Science can indeed stop bodies from failing.

Cancer is a result of a default cellular ‘safe mode,’ physicist proposes

See on Scoop.itInteresting Innovation

With death rates from cancer have remained largely unchanged over the past 60 years, a physicist is trying to shed more light on the disease with a very different theory of its origin that traces cancer back to the dawn of multicellularity more…

See on www.sciencedaily.com

Biomarker predicts risk of breast cancer recurrence after tamoxifen treatment

See on Scoop.itInteresting Innovation

A biomarker reflecting expression levels of two genes in tumor tissue may be able to predict which women treated for estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer should receive a second estrogen-blocking medication after completing tamoxifen treatment.

See on www.sciencedaily.com

Is An ‘Off The Shelf’ Liver Coming Soon?

See on Scoop.itStem cell news

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have for the first time created a functional human liver from stem cells derived from skin and blood and say their success points to a future where much-needed livers and other transplant…

See on www.huffingtonpost.com