New Therapy Claims To Turn Cancer Cells Into Fat To Stop It From Spreading

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By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

It’s the one word that no one ever wants to hear. It is devastating to be told that you have cancer and it is equally devastating when it is someone you love. For women, breast cancer is an ugly enemy. Data collected by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 242,476 women were diagnosed with it in 2015. Only last year, 627,000 women all over the world passed away after struggling with breast cancer. It is the second most common form of cancer which leads to death in the United States. Cancer itself is the second most common cause of death on the international level and only cardiac diseases rate higher.

Also read: Curcumin May Help Prevent Or Combat Stomach Cancer, Study Finds 

However thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and the brilliant minds behind it, every day we get closer to being able to treat cancer better. Recently, researchers have invented a drug that could stop cancer from spreading in a truly innovative way – they convert those cells into fat.

Saving Lives With Healthy Fat

The seriousness of cancer increases when the cells start to metastasize. They start moving to other parts of the body from the first tumor. By moving through the circulatory system, they can spread anywhere and everywhere. Since cancer cells have a different kind of plasticity, they can change their own features to adapt to different organs and can even become resistant to medicines.

Scientists from Basel University in Switzerland decided to use this characteristic of cancer against it. By using Rosiglitazone, an anti-diabetic drug paired with MEK inhibitors, they tried to change the very composition of the cells. The drug cocktail took over the breast cancer cells which had been injected into mice and started controlling epithelial-mesenchymal transition. This is how cancer cells are transferred to other organs as well. The drug hijacked the cells and turned them into adipocytes, which are basically just fat calls. Since fat cells are mature cells and cannot divide through mitosis, the converted cancer cells are prevented from spreading.

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Also read: Cell Phone Tower Removed From School After Children Get Cancer

This method doesn’t actually remove an existing tumor but it keeps it contained. You can find the original study in the Cancer Cell Journal. According to Gerhard Christofori, this treatment, combined with chemotherapy, should be able to prevent growth and metastasis. As all these drugs are already FDA approved, clinical trials can soon be started.

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How Close Are We To The Finish Line?

While reading about cancer statistics is definitely disheartening, there is actually plenty of reason to remain hopeful. Looking at the numbers you’ll see that the overall figures for deaths due to cancer are decreasing. Moreover, these numbers don’t take into consideration the increase in longevity, expansion of population numbers, and so on. Our understanding of cancer and how it comes about has never been better and there are many portals through which we can increase our awareness. Learning more about cancer can also help us take measures to prevent it while it is still early.

Hopefully, with teams like the one at Basel University, we’ll soon be able to kick cancer for good!

IMAGE CREDIT: tashatuvango

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