For the first time, researchers have been able to observe a special defense mechanism used by cancer cells to avoid the effects of chemotherapy.
Researchers now hope the study will help target and improve treatment.
Attacking weapons in cells
Cancer occurs when cells lose control of themselves and begin to divide abnormally and uncontrollably. The error is often due to damage to the cells’ DNA.
When our cells divide, tube-like protein structures called microtubules cut off the genetic material inside the cell so that new daughter cells can form.
To prevent cancer cells from dividing, doctors can try to attack the small tube-like arms with the help of a certain type of chemotherapy, so that the chromosomes in the cell cannot divide.
A cytotoxic agent is usually able to stop the normal function of tubules in the cell by causing them to break.
But researchers observed a clever maneuver in cancer cells.
Gather strength again
According to the researchers, when the small tube-like arms in cells break, a signal is activated in the cancer cells that causes the tubes to extend to the edge of the cell and retract so that the pieces are put back together.
The researchers believe this maneuver enables the tube-like proteins to stabilize and create the force needed to grip the chromosomes and pull them into their daughter cells, so the cancer cell can continue dividing.
Researchers already suspect that cancer cells possess this special defense mechanism. But they have only recently obtained good enough images of cancer cells, the tube-like structures, and the division itself in real time.
“It was very surprising to us because we did not expect that this mechanism in cancer cells could be used in this way to defeat cancer treatment, but it happened right before our eyes,” says Peter Gunning, one of the researchers behind the discovery. study, l New Atlas.
The study was published in the scientific journal Current biology.
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