Why healthy cells near tumours turn cancerous

Kopitiam Bot

(Source: www.straitstimes.com)

The experts have known for decades that the healthy cells next to tumours often turn cancerous, leading to cancers recurring. But little is known as to why this happens.

A team of scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) recently found that the answer lies in the cells being constantly exposed to a chemical known as hydrogen peroxide.

Most healthy cells secrete it in tiny amounts, but cancer cells produce five to 10 times more hydrogen peroxide.

Associate Professor Andrew Tan from NTU’s School of Biological Sciences said exposure to this chemical can cause surrounding healthy cells to become diseased.

These cells, which do not yet look cancerous, begin to produce higher amounts of hydrogen peroxide, in turn affecting the cells next to them in a domino effect.

This effect – known as field cancerisation – can be seen as far as 7cm from the original tumour site…

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