How would you like it if your house caught on fire and when the firemen sprayed water on it, that only made the flames bigger?
In a development that makes me want to throw my hands up, a study published in Nature Medicine essentially suggests that what we thought was an effective treatment for cancer might actually be a harmful catalyst.
So far, in the battle against cancer, chemotherapy is still the go-to weapon to use because of the aggressive way it kills cancerous cells. However, in an alarming discovery, U.S. researchers found that chemotherapy can sometimes encourage tumor growth.
Researchers tested the effects of chemotherapy on men with prostate cancer. In their tissue, they found evidence of DNA damage in healthy cells, in that these cells secreted more WNT16B, a protein that actually boosts cancer cell survival.
Nelson added: "WNT16B, when secreted, would interact with nearby tumour cells and cause them to grow, invade, and importantly, resist subsequent therapy."
Nelson and his team confirmed their findings with breast and ovarian cancer tumors.
This isn't an across-the-board scenario and doesn't spell the end for chemotherapy use. It's still an effective treatment for saving lives. However, Nelson did say these results could lead to research for new and improved methods of treatment.
Let's hope so.
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