Wednesday November 20, 2019

Study Says that Some of the Deadly Skin Cancers may Originate in Hair Follicles

The study was conducted in genetically engineered mice, with the results confirmed in human tissue samples

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Skin Cancers
The study addresses the stem cells that mature into melanocytes, cells that make the protein pigment melanin, which protects skin by absorbing some of the sun's ultraviolet, DNA-damaging rays causing Skin Cancers. Pixabay

 Some of the most deadly Skin Cancers may start in stem cells that lend colour to hair, and originate in hair follicles rather than in skin layers, says a new study.

Hair follicles are complex organs that reside within skin layers. It is there that immature pigment-making cells develop cancer-causing genetic changes – and in a second step – are exposed to normal hair growth signals.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that unlike their normal counterparts, newly cancerous pigment stem cells then migrate up and out of the follicles to establish melanomas in nearby surface skin before spreading deeper.

The study was conducted in genetically engineered mice, with the results confirmed in human tissue samples.

“By confirming that oncogenic pigment cells in hair follicles are a bona fide source of melanoma, we have a better understanding of this cancer’s biology and new ideas about how to counter it,” said study author Mayumi Ito Suzuki, Associate Professor at New York University.

Skin Cancers
Some of the most deadly Skin Cancers may start in stem cells that lend colour to hair, and originate in hair follicles rather than in skin layers, says a new study. Pixabay

The study addresses the stem cells that mature into melanocytes, cells that make the protein pigment melanin, which protects skin by absorbing some of the sun’s ultraviolet, DNA-damaging rays.

By absorbing some wavelengths of visible light, but reflecting others, pigments “create” hair colour.

In a series of elegant steps, the research team established a new mouse model for the study of melanoma, one engineered such that the team could edit genes in follicular melanocyte stem cells only (the c-Kit-CreER mouse).

This capability enabled researchers to introduce genetic changes that made only melanoctye stem cells – and their descendants destined to form melanomas – glow no matter where they travelled.

Able to accurately track a key stem cell type for the first time, the authors confirmed that melanoma cells can arise from melanocyte stem cells, which abnormally migrate up and out of hair follicles to enter the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin.

The team then tracked the same cells as they multiplied there, and then moved deeper into the skin layer called the dermis.

Cancer
Hair follicles are complex organs that reside within skin layers. It is there that immature pigment-making cells develop Cancer-causing genetic changes – and in a second step – are exposed to normal hair growth signals. Pixabay

Once there, the cells shed the markers and pigment that went with their follicular origins, presumably in response to local signals.

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They also acquired signatures similar to nerve cells (neurons) and skin cells (mesenchymal), molecular characteristics “almost exactly like” those noted in examinations of human melanoma tissue. (IANS)

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Soups Can Help You Fight Malaria: Study

Consuming home-made soups can save you from malaria, suggests a new study

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Soups fight malaria
Consuming soups can save you from malaria. Pixabay

“Malaria kills more than 400,000 people per year and infects more than 200 million, yet resistance to our frontline drugs continues to emerge,” said study lead researcher Jake Baum, Professor at Imperial College London, in UK.

“We may have to look beyond the chemistry shelf for new drugs, and natural remedies shouldn’t be off our watch list,” Baum added.

For the study, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, researchers from Imperial College London with school children test their family soup broths for activity against the malaria parasite.

Several of the soup broths, collected from traditional family recipes that originated around the world, showed activity against the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, either by curbing its growth or preventing it from maturing.

The soup recipes had been passed down through the generations for the treatment of fever.

Five of the broths were able to curb growth of the parasite in its disease-causing stage by more than 50 percent.

In two of these, the inhibitory activity was comparable with that of a leading anti-malarial drug, dihydroartemisinin.

Four other broths were more than 50 percent effective at blocking the ability of the parasites to mature to a form that infects mosquitoes, potentially blocking the process of transmission.

Malaria
Prevent malaria with healthy soups. Pixabay

Dihydroarteminisin contains artemisinin, which was isolated from a traditional Chinese herbal medicine.

According to the researchers, the study was carried out by students at Eden Primary School in North London.

The pupils brought in samples of homemade clear soup broths from family recipes from across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Filtered extracts of the broths were then tested against two stages of the parasite: when it can infect mosquitoes, and when it can cause the disease in humans.

The recipes for each of the broths varied.

They were vegetarian, chicken, or beef based, with no particular ingredient common to those with the strongest anti-malarial activity.

The active ingredients in the broths studied are yet to be identified and tested, the study said.

To move forwards, the active ingredients would need to be isolated, before tests of toxicology and effectiveness, first in human cells and later preclinical trials.

Also Read- Here’s Why Too Much Ultra-Processed Food Can Deteriorate your Heart Health

The researchers behind the study hope that they may discover new anti-malarial compounds in a similar way from the work looking at soup.

“It’s really interesting to find potential routes for future drug development in something like your grandmother’s soup,” Baum added. (IANS)