Thursday November 21, 2019

Indian-origin scientist Ravi Majeti, turns cancer cells into harmless cells

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By Anurag Paul

An Indian-origin researcher at the Stanford University in the US has found a method that can cause dangerous leukemia cells to mature into harmless immune cells known as macrophages.

Assistant professor of medicine Ravi Majeti made the key observation after collecting leukemia cells from a patient and trying to keep the cells alive in a culture plate.

During the study, Majeti and post-doctoral scholar Scott McClellan found that some of the cancer cells in culture were changing shape and size into what looked like macrophages.

The team confirmed that the methods shown to have altered the destiny of the mouse progenitor cells years ago could be used to transform these human cancer cells into macrophages which can engulf and digest cancer cells and pathogens.

“We were giving everything at them to help them hold out,” said Majeti in a report that appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. B-cell leukemia cells are in many ways progenitor cells that are forced to stay in an immature state.

B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia with a variation called the Philadelphia chromosome is a especially aggressive cancer with poor results.

“So finding potential treatments is especially exciting,” Majeti added.

Majeti and his colleagues have some reason to hope that when the cancer cells become macrophages, they will not only be neutralized but may actually assist in fighting the cancer.

“Because the macrophage cells came from the cancer cells, they will already carry with them the chemical signals that will distinguish the cancer cells, causing an immune attack against the cancer more likely,” Majeti explained.

The researchers’ next steps would be to find out if they can discover a drug that will incite the same reaction and that could function as the groundwork for a therapy for the leukemia.

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Here’s How Radiation From CT Scan Can Increase Risk Of Developing Thyroid Cancer

Radiations from CT Scan can increase the risks of developing thyroid cancer and leukemia

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CT scan
Radiations from CT scan can have harmful effects on the body. Pixabay

Researchers have found that exposure to radiation from CT scans is associated with higher risks of developing thyroid cancer and leukemia, but according to health experts here, the probability of CT scans inducing cancers is very minimal.

Published in the journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum, the study based on a National Health Insurance dataset in Taiwan between 2000 and 2013 followed 22,853 thyroid cancer, 13,040 leukemia and 20,157 non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases.

Results showed that patients who developed thyroid cancer and leukemia had significantly higher likelihood of having received CT scans.

‘The probability of CT scans inducing cancers is very minimal. Very long and prolonged radiation exposure can cause skin redness, but the chance of developing malignancy is extremely less,” Gaurav Dixit, Senior Consultant, Clinical Haematologist, Action Cancer Hospital in New Delhi told IANS.

“However we need to be careful in children, and number of scans should be restricted,” Dixit added.

The study also revealed that for patients between 36 and 45 years of age, there was a three-fold increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma associated with CT scans.

Thyroid cancer due to CT scan
Thyroid cancer and leukemia can be caused by radiations from CT scan. Pixabay

Patients receiving CT scans had in general marked increases in the risk of developing thyroid cancer and leukemia, especially in female patients and patients younger than 45.

However, according to Nitin Leekha, Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology, Jaypee Hospital, in Noida, radiation exposure of any kind is associated with cancer and the fact is already well established.

“Radiation exposure with single diagnostic CT is relatively harmless. It takes multiple CT scans for radiation exposure to reach a point where it can lead to cancers. Thyroid cancer is the most commonly associated cancer with radiation exposure among others,” Leekha told IANS.

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“One should avoid repeated radiation exposure in diagnostic tests unless it is absolutely necessary. There is usually a time lag of years before cancer develops,” Leekha stressed.

Leekha added that if a person had radiation exposure multiple times in the childhood they may be at an increased risk of developing cancer.

“Such individuals should visit an oncosurgeon for evaluation,” he concluded. (IANS)