You May Already Have Billions of Cancer-Causing Cells

You May Already Have Billions of Cancer-Causing Cells

Are you feeling great?

New research shows that there are hidden dangers. Scientists discovered that Cancer-free older adults have at least 100,000,000 cells that harbor at least one associated mutation.

There’s also good news: According to the U.S. National -Cancer Institute, most of these mutations will not cause any harm and 60 percent of people will live their whole lives without being diagnosed with cancer.

Researchers performed a meta-analysis on previously published sequencing data from normal tissues to identify mutations after egg fertilization.

“When trillions of cells are being kept alive for more than a century, mutations will occur,” stated James DeGregori (deputy director of the University of Colorado Centre).

Based on the known mutation rates, it is not surprising that mutations occur. This research shows that we must look at these mutations and whether or not they cause carcinoma from a new perspective,” DeGregori stated in a university press release.

The journal Aging & Cancer published their findings recently.

Edward Evans, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, said that “To understand the genesis of carcinoma we must look at normal tissue.” All the mutations exist by the time cancer develops and we don’t always know which ones.

“We thought that many of the mutations found in people would be cancer-causing. But we didn’t know how many. It was obvious that this would increase with age, but we weren’t sure which genes would be most prevalent or how many cells could have them. Evans stated in the release.

Evans stated that there are about 3 trillion cells in our body. To put this in perspective, 100 million cells with oncogenic mutations doesn’t make up the majority of our total cells. It takes just one cell to cause cancer, so that number is surprising. What does it mean if there are millions of cells carrying these mutations, but no signs of cancer? What does it mean to have oncogenic mutations in your body?

Luckily, seniors need not panic.

DeGregori stated that “the vast majority of mutations do not do anything, they don’t cause any problems and many aren’t even in coding sequences.” “Every cell of our bodies contains dozens to dozens of mutations. If not hundreds of thousands, we have the opportunity to ask whether these patterns can be used as a way of determining if someone is at high-risk of developing cancer.”

One avenue of research is to study why certain tissues are so susceptible to oncogenic mutations, but have low incidences of cancer. Other types of tissue may have lower levels of oncogenic mutants.

DeGregori stated, “Before this research began, I didn’t know that nearly 90% of colon cells became occupied with cancer-causing mutants.” It was surprising that this number was so high, but colon cancer will only affect a small percentage of people. It’s important to understand the differences between different tissue types. What is the difference between epithelial and lung tissue?

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