Tags: Cancer | cancer | stem | cells | origination

Body Needs 'Perfect Storm' to Develop Cancer

Body Needs 'Perfect Storm' to Develop Cancer

(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Friday, 26 August 2016 01:14 PM

For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that cells in the body need a ‘perfect storm’ of conditions in order to form a cancer.

The new study also shows that cancers are more likely to originate in stem cells – special cells that copy themselves so the body can grow new cells, repair damaged tissue and replace old cells.

But while these stem cells are more susceptible to developing into cancer, they also need to have accumulated DNA mistakes and be replicating to repair damage or wear and tear for cancers to start, the research team says.

The study, which also showed why cancer is more likely to occur in certain organs, was conducted by a team of U.K. scientists and researchers at St Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

To find out how cancers start in different organs the researchers tagged one particular group of cells in mice with a fluorescent dye to track their behavior. They then introduced DNA mistakes linked to different types of cancers into these cells.

Importantly, DNA mistakes by themselves were not enough to cause cancer. In organs where DNA mistakes were introduced into dormant stem cells, there were no signs of cancer. But, in other organs that are exposed to lots of wear and tear – like the colon - introducing DNA mistakes into the replicating stem cells caused cancer to start, they find.

These DNA mistakes can happen randomly as stem cells replicate and they tend to build up with age, which is why cancer gets more common as we get older. They can also be caused by environmental factors, such tobacco smoke or UV radiation from the sun, the researchers say.

"Although stem cells can sometimes go wrong by chance, our study shows that things in our environment that lead to more DNA mistakes or that damage organs, causing these stem cells to divide, increases the chances of the 'perfect storm' brewing. This is why behaviours like smoking or UV exposure raises the risk of developing cancer," says lead researcher Richard Gilbertson, of the University of Cambridge.

"We can now say that cancer most likely starts in stem cells but is not just down to 'bad luck'. The development of cancer involves a 'perfect storm' of stem cells containing DNA mistakes that are replicating in response to damage or wear and tear," he adds.

The researchers say they hope their report,  which appears in Cell, will be valuable to other scientists seeking new way to treat and prevent cancer


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A new study finds that in order for cancer to develop, there needs to be a 'perfect storm' of conditions in the body.
cancer, stem, cells, origination
Friday, 26 August 2016 01:14 PM
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