Cancer treatment is a grievous process for the human body with unclear results. Chemotherapy, which has brutal side effects, is one of the successful ways to treat cancer. Even after long-lasting treatment, serious illness may recur. The problem is that some of the tumor cells survive in many cases, giving the tumor a chance to grow again. Scientists have revealed a cancer survival strategy, which is cannibalism.
Scientists and physicians are therefore working intensively on how to destroy the surviving tumor cells in some way. In order to successfully fight resistant tumor cells, it is necessary to first identify them thoroughly and reveal their survival strategies. It is the key to saving millions of lives that are otherwise lost because of the return of cancer that has already been treated.
According to a study published in September 17 in the Journal of Cell Biology, a team of scientists from the Tulane University School of Medicine recently found that breast tumor cells, as well as some other cancers, are using an unusual strategy to defend themselves. In this case, some tumor cells will enter a rest or dormancy state after receiving chemotherapy treatment. To feed themselves in this state, these cells resort to cannibalism. They often devour the surrounding tumor cells that have not entered a resting state. Due to this unusual diet, they get enough nutrients to survive treatment and then be able to do harm again.
This video shows a breast cancer cell (green) eating a neighboring cancer cell (red):
It is important for scientists to discover and understand the principles of cancer cell survival so that they can work on new treatment
Source & credit: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-09/rup-cct091019.php,pixabay.com