The struggle to cure cancer moves on and scientists are always trying to come up with new solutions on how to get rid of a disease that has been haunting humanity for many years. Experts now believe that there might be a way to return cancerous cells back to their original, healthy state.
Tests that were carried out in laboratory conditions suggest that there might be a biological step that could impede cells from replicating out of control and restore them back to normality. Researchers added new molecules known as microRNAs and these seem to put a stop in cancer cell replication.
But this process is still under investigation. It is an experiment, actually, so even though the lab tests are looking good, there is no way of telling if the cure will work on humans as well. But researchers are trying to be positive and believe that this new approach might be useful for countering all types of cancer and not only a few of them.
So how did this idea come to be? Scientists just combined two widely-known fields of knowledge: microRNA biology and cell adhesion. These two sciences have never been linked before, so any type of discovery that can derive from them might be a groundbreaking one.
Adhesion molecules were believed to have only the “glue” role in keeping cells together, but things changed when other scientists discovered that they might release signals as well. Thus, experts are now thinking that adhesion molecules connect cells and send signals through miRNAs that can dictate cell growth.
If cell growth becomes deregulated, cancer appears. Yet, if doctors were to reform cells with the aid of miRNAs, they could eliminate cancer once and for all. Doctor Panos Anastasiadis explains things in a simpler manner: if miRNAs are injected into cancer cells, this could stop their abnormal growth and normal cell function could be restored.
Doctor Anastasiadis also stated that there have been some impressive and promising results obtained with very aggressive types of cancer, so it would definitely be something to look forward to.
However, other doctors suggest caution. One of these experts is Henry Scowcroft, senior science information manager within Cancer Research UK. While Scowcroft is also excited about the results, he says that “we should not get ahead of ourselves”.
There is still a very long journey ahead of medicine and its experts, but if we finally manage to cure cancer, in whatever form we can, it would be a miraculous breakthrough that could save millions of people every year.
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