Scientists have for the longest time believed that cancer begins to develop when cells in the body acquire more mutations and multiply at an abnormal rate. However, new research has shed light on how air pollution can cause cancer, a discovery that could completely change the understanding of how tumors develop.
This study, which was conducted by scientists at the Francis Crick Institute in London, found that air pollution was awakening old damaged cells in the body instead of damaging healthy cells. The investigators, who are also based at University College London, were focused on finding what could trigger the damage present in cell DNA to make it cancerous.
They began their research by looking into why people who didn’t smoke developed lung cancer. This is based on data showing that while the majority of lung cancer cases are primarily caused by smoking, one in 10 cases in the United Kingdom is caused by air pollution.
The researchers focused on PM2.5 (particulate matter 2.5), which is a form of pollution. They conducted a series of detailed animal and human experiments, which led them to discover that areas with higher air pollution levels had more cases of lung cancer that didn’t develop as a result of smoking. They also found that breathing in PM2.5 led to the release of interleukin-1-beta (IL-1β) in the lungs, which in turn activated cells in the lungs to repair damage and brought about inflammation.
The researchers also discovered that roughly one in every 600,000 cells in the lungs of a 50-year-old contained mutations that were potentially cancerous. They stated that these mutations appeared completely healthy and were acquired as an individual aged; however, when they were activated by IL-1β, they became cancerous, the researchers noted.
In their experiments, the researchers succeeded in halting cancer formation in mice that had been exposed to PM2.5 by using a drug that blocked interleukin-1-beta.
The study’s findings are a breakthrough not only for understanding the fundamentals of how cancer develops in humans but also for highlighting air pollution’s impact on our health.
It should be noted that the findings also showed that mutations only weren’t enough to prompt cancer development, with researchers underscoring that sometimes an extra element was needed.
The researchers hope that their findings can explain how different cancer-causing components act on the human body. The scientists’ findings were presented to researchers at the ESMO Congress.
As more entities such as QSAM Biosciences Inc. (OTCQB: QSAM) take up the mantle of seeking a better understanding of how cancer forms and spreads, as well as how it can be treated effectively, the future looks bright as new therapeutics are introduced onto the market.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to QSAM Biosciences Inc. (OTCQB: QSAM) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/QSAM
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