Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Fruit Flies Helping Cancer Patients?

Fruit flies could hold answers to new anti-cancer treatments. A group of researchers at the University of California Berkeley are analyzing fruit flies with tumors up until their death to see what the cause of death is. They saw that tumors are releasing damaging chemicals in addition to the damage caused to critical organs. This seems to be a significant step in cancer treatments as it offers a potential way to lower the mortality rates of certain types of cancers. 


The tumors in fruit flies showed a cytokine called interleukin-6 (IL-6) being released in a barrier between the bloodstream and brain. This blood and brain barrier is very important and if there is mixing between the two, there are increased chances of disease, infection, trauma, and obesity. The inflammation that this cytokine causes is what results in the barrier leak. By keeping it closed, the lifespan of the cancer patient can be increased. This hypothesis was supported with the research done on both fruit flies and mice. One challenge with this is that interleukin-6 (IL-6) is important in other places in the body so the treatment would have to be only blocking this cytokine at the blood-brain barrier. Additionally, fruit flies have shown that tumors release a substance that blocks the effect of insulin and causes blocked veins. The is very important as cachexia, a condition from insulin intolerance, and edema, blocked veins from excess fluid retention and blood clotting, kills many cancer patients. 


The team of researchers believe that targeting tumor host interactions is much more beneficial to the patient as it targets host cells and could lower cancer recurrence from mutations making the cancer resistant to the drug. Also, this type of treatment would make it so patients aren’t being treated with drugs that do a lot of harm to the healthy cells as well as the cancerous ones.  


This research is very promising and gives reason for more interest in this field. Increasing the lifespan of cancer patients and reducing all the harmful side effects of cancer treatments would be a significant jump in treatments. By exploring more options, it could result in better ways of treating such a harmful disease. 


Zach Conant (7) 


Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210916131326.htm

No comments:

Post a Comment