Cells that undergo a near-death experience but refuse to die could be responsible for helping cancer spread in the body.
(Next Animation Studio) – Cells that undergo a near-death experience but refuse to die could be responsible for helping cancer spread in the body.
Scientists once thought that cells killed themselves in a process called apoptosis, which is triggered when a molecule called a caspase is activated, Science News reported.
However, research conducted within the last decade indicates that cells can abort their own suicide in a process named anastasis, and now scientists say this could have implications for the treatment of cancer.
Unpublished research from biologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, indicates that despite receiving chemotherapy treatment, cancer cells can come back to life through the anastasis.
Those cancer cells can then multiply and spread throughout the body.
That means that stopping anastasis could provide more effective cancer treatments, according to the researchers.
However, in some cases, such as saving heart cells after a heart attack or brain cells after a stroke, provoking anastasis may be beneficial.
Scientists still don’t know how anastasis works, which means this kind of cancer research is still very much in its infancy.