Chemotherapy has long been looked at as an aggressive and painful form of cancer therapy, but was also considered necessary, and the most effective treatment.
Now a recent study has shown that chemotherapy actually heavily damages healthy cells and subsequently triggers them to release a protein that sustains and fuels tumor growth. Beyond that, it even makes the tumor highly resistant to future treatment. Researchers were initially attempting to determine why cancer cells are easy to kill in a laboratory, but so hard to stop in a human body.
Reporting their findings in the journal Nature Medicine, the scientists report that the findings were ‘completely unexpected’.
They tested tissue collected from men with prostate cancer, and found "evidence of DNA damage" in healthy cells after they received chemotherapy. Chemotherapy inhibiting reproduction of cells that divide quickly like those found in tumors.
Researchers focused on a cell known as the fibroblast in the neighborhood of the cancerous tumor. When the fibroblast was given chemotherapy, the researchers found that it produced a high level of a molecule called WNT16B, that enable the growth of cancerous cells.
"The increase in WNT16B was completely unexpected, according to study researcher Peter Nelson of Seattle. WNT16B, when secreted, would interact with nearby tumor cells and cause them to grow, invade, and resist subsequent therapy."
Tumors often respond well to chemotherapy treatments at first, then experience rapid regrowth and resistance later.
The news comes after it was previously revealed by similarly breaking research that expensive cancer drugs not only fail to treat tumors, but actually make them far worse. The cancer drugs were found to make tumors ‘metasize’ and grow massively in size after consumption. As a result, the drugs killed the patients more quickly.
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