Chronic inflammation has always been correlated with cancer. However, a Kanazawa University study may have finally cracked the code between the relationship, laying the path for more effective cancer treatments in the future.
Inflammation vs. Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation in the body is normal, so do not be alarmed yet. Inflammation itself is a physiological response that causes injured tissue to heal.
Your body begins the inflammatory process when chemicals are released by damaged tissue, triggering your body's white blood cells to come in and work their healing magic.
However chronic inflammation is something entirely different. Though not much is known about what causes it, it may be triggered by infections that don’t go away, abnormal immune reactions to normal tissues, or conditions such as obesity. Chronic inflammation can cause damage to your DNA, leading to cancer.
When there are severe forms of inflammation in the body, it is actually very hard for researchers to get in there and study the primary damaged cells.
Inflamed cancerous tissues contain a non-uniform mix of damaged and protective cells, making the process even harder. However, researchers at Kanazawa University have created a method that could tackle this task.
Focusing on understanding gastritis or the inflammation of the stomach, researchers from the University were able to isolate the primary cells and study them using a microdissection laser.
For the uninitiated, a microdissection laser is a method for isolating specific cells of interest from microscopic regions of tissue, cells, and organisms.
In their research, the team looked at the gene miR-I35B. Interestingly, the gene exists in high levels in both mice and human patients with stomach inflammation and may lead to the development of cancer cells in the body, leading some scientists to believe that at the very least, the gene is a great indicator of cancerous cell growth.
Even more so, miR-I35B behave similar to cancer cells, can spread and even potentially evolve into cancer.
By looking further into what is driving inflammation and the genes that are shaping this process, researchers from Kanazawa University eventually hope to create better diagnostic tools for the early detection of cancer.