Recent studies have uncovered the way a virus or a cancer cell can change the cell metabolism of a healthy cell so that it can allow it to reproduce. Today, we’ve got more news concerning cancer cells and how they act within our body. It has always been a mystery how cancer cells manage to escape or even thrive during and after chemotherapy, but today we know of one way they manage to do that: they are zombie cancer cells.
We kid you not, a new study published in Cell Reports and presented at the AACT Conference 2014 (American Association for Cancer Research) has discovered that some cancer cells will eat parts of themselves during stressful times; which allows cancer cells to thrive and divide instead of dying when faced with treatment.
Zombie Cancer Cells
The University of Colorado Cancer Center discovered that some cancer cells, in times of hardship, will eat parts of themselves so that they keep from dying. The practice is not uncommon one in the world of cells – the cells are called autophagosomes and they remove dangerous or extra material and transport it to their lysosomes to become disposed of. When the material reaches the lysosomes, it gets consumed and turned into energy. In other words, some cancer cells are capable of rescuing themselves from death caused by treatment (chemotherapy in particular), thus being zombie cancer cells.
The process of autophagy, apparently, can control cell death, which is something that is completely new to the science world. Also, this new finding means that if we were to discover a way to inhibit autophagy, then we would manage to sensitize cancer cells to medication.
Up until now, scientists didn’t know much, if anything, about autophagy. It’s still a long way from being completely understood, but now we can grasp why cancer cells manage to survive even the most powerful treatment – it’s because of autophagy.
What are your thoughts on these zombie cancer cells? If you care to share, leave us a few words in the comment section below.