“Researchers are pioneering new ‘cell surgery’ in their quest to understand the origins of cancer” – Miriam Stoppard
dr Miriam Stoppard explains how researchers are working to understand how cancer develops and therefore, by understanding this risk, more effective ways of preventing cancer can be developed
Image: Getty Images)
Honestly, medical research just keeps getting more and more amazing.
Researchers at Warwick University are pioneering a new ‘cell surgery’ in their quest to understand the origins of cancer.
A bit of background first. When a cell divides, it makes a copy of each chromosome and then splits it equally between the two new cells.
This process is performed by a machine inside the cell called the mitotic spindle.
But when a cell divides abnormally, it doesn’t share the right number of chromosomes between the two new cells, and this can be the first step in developing cancer.
New research from Warwick Medical School has used cell surgery to figure out how and why this happens.
This advances our understanding of how cancer develops and could lead to its prevention.
When something goes wrong during cell division, the two new cells are aneuploid, meaning they don’t have the right number of chromosomes.
This means they make mistakes when passing on genetic information.
Cancer cells are also aneuploid, so understanding how and why this happens is of great importance in order to understand how the disease develops.
This is exactly what Professor Stephen Royle’s research team in Warwick found with their research.
They found that some chromosomes can become trapped in a tangle of membranes around the cell’s spindle and be lost, preventing the chromosomes from dividing properly, leading to abnormal cell division that can cause cancer.
They made their discovery by performing a kind of surgery on living cells.
The researchers brilliantly invented a way to clear the tangle of membranes that enclose chromosomes, and as a result, the chromosomes were salvaged from the spindle, allowing normal healthy cell division.
This proved for the first time that the trapping of chromosomes in these membranes is a direct risk factor for the formation of cancer cells.
Understanding this risk can lead to more effective cancer prevention.
Prof Royle said: “A lot of scientists working on cell division focus on the spindle – how it works and why it fails in cancer. In this article, we shifted the focus and looked at membranes in dividing cells.”
dr Nuria Ferrandiz, lead author, said: “We found that chromosomes can become trapped in membranes and this is catastrophic for the dividing cell. It has the potential to turn a normal cell into a cancer cell. Preventing this can be a way to treat disease.”
This is a major advance in cancer treatment.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/researchers-trailblazing-new-cell-surgery-27274465 "Researchers are pioneering new 'cell surgery' in their quest to understand the origins of cancer" - Miriam Stoppard