My thoughts run free here...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Movement Matters

One of the most astonishing and yet disturbing fact about cancer, is that they can spread from one region, where they proliferate, to another. How do they do this? This process is called metastasis. It refers to the spread of cancer from its original site to other areas in the body. This is the main reason why cancers are so hard to treat.

My aunt was once diagnosed with breast cancer. She had an operation to remove the tumour. In that process, one of her breasts had to be removed. However, even after the successful operation, she was still weak. It was later diagnosed that the cancer had spread. I was really depressed when I heard that she had passed away.

Radiation therapy can eradicate the tumour cells. However, some cells remain undetected or they lay dormant for years until unknown mechanisms trigger the cells to start growing and they proliferate, producing a secondary tumour. This is how people get cancer again even after they have gone and removed the tumour. No radiation therapy or anti-cancer drugs can save a person from cancer that has started to matastasise.

However, scientists are working on how the tumour cells metastasise. The process itself involves complex and multiple biological processes that includes alterations in cell–cell and cell–matrix adhesions, cell migration, and changes in growth control that permit tumour cells to grow in places where they normally would not. By tracing the molecules and substances involved in helping the cells spread, drugs can be designed to target these melocules.

I find this area of research really interesting.I'll update more soon. See ya!! Got to mug...


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