It is believed that chemotherapy uses chemicals to kill all cancer cells. But a new study says that some affected cells are capable to deceive the treatment.
Researchers have found that some cancers can recover from doses of chemotherapy which would destroy other types of cell — in fact,the diseased cells have a Houdini-like escape tactic which can outwit even potent drugs.
According to them,though it is believed that no cells could live after chemotherapy which triggers a process,called apoptosis,or cell suicide,the study could explain why some cancers recur even after treatment.
Lead researcher Ming-Chiu Fung at Chinese University of Hong Kong was quoted by ‘The Daily Telegraph’ newspaper as saying: “We have shown various cancer cell lines can survive programmed cell death.
“This research suggests existence of an escape tactic that cancer cells might call upon to survive chemotherapy. Our finding sparks new leads to research what drives cancer cells to come back to life after chemotherapy treatment.
“Or to what extent this ability of cancer cells to reverse cell death contributes to their continued division and growth during cycles of anticancer treatment. Answers to these questions will provide potential new therapeutic targets in our battle against cancer.”
In their study,the researchers subjected the cancer cells to three different types of the therapy,all of which cause apoptosis. In the laboratory,they gave the cells enough of the deadly chemicals to spark the impulse to die.
But they found that although the cells were damaged by the chemotherapy,once it was stopped they regained their original shape,began to function as normal and continued to divide,causing them to grow and spread.
The cells were mortally damaged only if their central part had already begun to disintegrate. However,this does not usually happen until right at the very end of the normal cell suicide process,the study has revealed.
The findings are published in the latest edition of the ‘British Journal of Cancer’.