Most people would never compare cancer to a child. But researchers are now suggesting that cancer is a lot like an out-of-control child, wreaking havoc throughout the body rather than following the rules. They've also found a new discovery that forces certain cancer cells to "grow up and shape up." And this discovery may have an impact on how we address cancer's unruly behavior.
Regular, healthy cells are mature cells that function properly and play well with other cells in the body. Cancer cells, on the other hand, tend to be "immature" in how they get their energy, breaking down sugars rather than relying on the mitochondria to power them. And they don't play well with other cells.
Cancer cells are your own cells that have become abnormal. A tumor occurs when many of these abnormal cells grow together. They divide rapidly and become invasive. Scientists have known about tumor suppressors for some time now. These protein molecules help slow down cell proliferation and keep malignant tumors from forming. But scientists haven't really understood just how they work. Now new research is shedding some new light on the process.
Researchers who study tumor suppressors have often focused on a protein called pRb. This is a regulatory molecule that affects everything from cell growth, replication, differentiation, interaction with other cells, and cell death. Previous studies have indicated that the pRb protein may not be functioning properly in most human cancers.
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Previous research has also focused on how pRb affects cell growth and division, hoping to unlock the secret to its effects on cancer. But in this study, the researchers uncovered something surprising: pRb actually helps prevent tumors from forming by restricting a molecule called KDM5A. This molecule plays an important role in the mitochondria, the cell's powerhouse.
KDM5A "turns on" many proteins in DNA. When cancer cells are immature and haven't had the right proteins activated, they tend to be much more aggressive. The researchers found that if they could restore the mitochondrial processes in these cells that didn't have enough pRb to start the process, the cells became more mature and weren't as likely to divide.
Associate professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics in the UIC College of Medicine and lead author Elizaveta Benevolenskaya explained, "If we can replace the mutated pRb with a small-molecule KDM5A inhibitor or bypass the need for pRb by restoring its metabolic effects, we may be able to reduce tumor aggressiveness. We are excited that the link of KDM5A inhibition to healthy mitochondria may have implications in developing restorative, differentiation-based therapies."
The authors are excited that this finding could lead to the development of metabolic therapies that can help cells mature and stop dividing. But you don't have to wait for their metabolic therapies. I've used metabolic medicine for years, and using it to treat cancer works. It lets us tell cancer to "grow up" and move out. And it helps keep healthy cells working properly. If you want more information on metabolic therapies that work, visit my website www.secondopinionnewsletter.com for more information.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD