Some Cancer Tumors Have Independent Digestive Systems
Researchers from Duke University have discovered a miniature digestive system inside a lung tumor.
Researchers from Duke University have discovered a miniature digestive system inside a lung tumor. The team was surprised to see a mini stomach, duodenum and even small intestine hidden away in this cancer sample.
As reported in the journal Development Cell, the researchers discovered that the cancerous cells lost a gene called NKX2-1. This gene acts like a master switch, telling lung cells how to develop and it appears that without it, cells begin to develop like the gut. This incredible ability to change gives cancer another redoubtable way to fight off treatments.
“Cancer cells will do whatever it takes to survive,” lead author Professor Purushothama Rao Tata said in a statement. “Upon treatment with chemotherapy, lung cells shut down some of the key cell regulators and pick up the characteristics of other cells in order to gain resistance.”
Tata and his colleagues looked at “non-small cell lung cancer” using the extensive database of the Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. The team was able to sift through thousands of cancer genome and they discovered that a large proportion of non-small cell lung cancer lacked that specific gene.
Since both lungs and gut cells come from the same progenitor cells, the researchers proposed that the lack of NKX2-1 would allow them to take on a different developmental path. And this means cancer gut cells would be able to escape treatment because they wouldn’t be affected by attacks on lung cells.
The team tested this idea in mouse models by removing the NKX2-1 gene in question from… Read on my curious friend: CLICK HERE