Mechanisms that Halt Breast Milk Production May Help in Fight Against Cancer
Inflammation is one of the vital mechanisms in the spread of many different types of cancer. Researchers from the University of Sheffield recently looked into the natural methods the body uses to remove dead cells which cause inflammation.
Scientists looked at the human breast to identify how milk production and cessation occurs and found the protein Rac1 in the process.
Rac1 is responsible for targeting the milk-secreting alveoli after they have outlived their use and destroying them, returning the breast to its natural state without triggering an immune response.
Under normal circumstances, inflammatory phagocytes produced by the immune system clean up the dead cells.
While this method is successful in removing dead cells, it also triggers inflammation in the cleaned up sites. The mechanisms in the breast show how localized cell cleanup can occur without triggering inflammation.
Previous research showed a high expression of Rac1 in some cancers, leading researchers to believe it was a mechanism involved in cancer spread.
Scientists are currently considering the use of Rac1 inhibitors in anti-cancer therapies. However, the lead study author, Dr. Nasreen Akhtar, said that blocking Rac1 “might not be a good idea” because it actually prevents inflammation.
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Cancer alone can cause disabling symptoms that prevent you from working and earning an income. When combined with treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, the impact on your ability to work can become worse.
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