A new medical experiment has proven turning cancer cells into healthy tissue is possible. Antonis Kourtidis, the lead author of the study and Ph.D. researcher at Mayo Clinic in Florida says cancer cell reversion is possible by carefully studying the structure of adhesion molecules.
Adhesion molecules play a significant role in cancer progression because they regulate the activity of the cells and they can cause them to develop into tumors. The molecule that is responsible for the evolution of cancer cells is called microRNA, according to senior investigator Panos Anastasiadis.
Previous medical tests have revealed that healthy cells present miRNAs that prevent abnormal cell growth. Cancer cells, on the other hand, do not have this inhibitor; therefore, adhesion proteins form unusual group of genes that eventually lead to tumor formation. By electrically stimulating miRNAs, researchers have been able to restore cancer cells to their initial healthy state.
Several problems have been identified during experiments, such as, the influence that adhesion molecules E-cadherin and p120 have on cancer cells. Some studies claim the two types of molecules are the only ones that can suppress cancer cell formation. However, recent tests have revealed that the same adhesion molecules are still present in cancer cells.
There was but one conclusion that researchers at the Mayo Clinic could reach, namely, that there is both a positive and a negative side to the two adhesion molecules. Their hypothesis was confirmed by the additional experiments they have conducted, but there was still one question that remained unanswered: what was exactly that caused adhesion molecules to become good or bad?
It appears that the only culprit is the PLEKHA7 protein, which has the ability to command E-cadherin and p120 molecules to become cancer cell suppressors. This only happens when there is a functional connection between the protein and the microprocessors miRNAs.
The two scientists have drawn the conclusion that additional researches have to be conducted in order to establish how frequent the PLEKHA7-microprocessor complex is among cancer patients. They hope their experiment could soon allow medical experts to replace chemotherapy with a new treatment that is less noxious for healthy cells. Ultimately, they aim at a universal cure for cancer cells.
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