Are you feeling great?
There are hidden dangers, according to new research. Scientists found that cancer-free older adults harbor 100,000,000 cells with at least one mutation.
The good news is that, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, 60 percent of those with mutations will be able to live their entire lives without ever being diagnosed with cancer.
Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of previously published sequence data from normal tissue to identify mutations that occur after egg fertilization.
James DeGregori, deputy director of the University of Colorado Centre, said that mutations would occur when trillions of cells were kept alive over a period of more than 100 years.
It is not surprising to see mutations based on known mutation rates. The research indicates that we need to look at mutations in a different light and determine whether they are causing carcinoma. DeGregori said this in a press release from the university.
Recent findings published in the journal Aging & Cancer.
Edward Evans, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Colorado, stated that “To understand carcinoma genesis, we must examine normal tissue.” By the time cancer begins, all the mutations are present. We don’t know which ones.
We thought that many mutations in humans would cause cancer. We didn’t even know how many mutations there were. We knew that the number of genes in cells would increase as we age, but were unsure which genes would be more prevalent. Evans said in the press release.
Evans said that our body contains approximately 3 trillion cells. In order to put it in perspective, 100 millions cells with oncogenic mutants don’t even make up a majority of our total number of cells. This number is shocking because it only takes one cell to cause a cancerous tumor. What does it mean that there are millions and millions of cells with these mutations but no cancer signs? What does having oncogenic mutations mean?
Luckily, seniors need not panic.
DeGregori said that “the majority of mutations don’t do anything. They cause no problems, and many aren’t even in code sequences.” Every cell in our body contains between dozens and hundreds of mutations. We have the chance to determine if these patterns, if not hundreds of thousands of them, can be used to determine a person’s high risk of cancer.
Research can be conducted to determine why certain tissues are susceptible to mutations that cause cancer, yet have a low incidence of cancer. Some types of tissues may contain lower levels of mutants.
DeGregori said, “Before I began this research, I did not know that nearly 90 percent of colon cells were occupied by cancer-causing mutations.” This number is surprising, but only a small portion of the population will be affected by colon cancer. Understanding the differences between tissue types is important. What’s the difference between lung and epithelial tissue?
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