When a woman has breast cancer, you often hear she is "battling" and "fighting" the disease and that the goal is to kill the malignant cells - by chemicals and radiation - and slice them out of the body with surgery. But there may be another way to rid the body of breast cancer. The key? Help cancerous cells revert back into normal cells.
It's not a totally new idea. After all, as NaturalNews previously covered, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that some breast cancers are apparently healed naturally by the body. The researchers concluded certain breast malignancies would have likely spontaneously regressed if they had never been discovered on a mammogram and treated.
Now there's evidence from scientists at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that malignant mammary cells can be guided back into a normal growth pattern without using chemicals or drugs.
The findings, which the researchers recently announced at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco, reveal for the first time that mechanical forces alone can revert and stop cancer cells from growing out of control. What's more, the cancer cells can return to normal even though the genetic mutations responsible for triggering the malignancy in the first place don't go away.
So what did the researchers do to make cancer cells return to normal? They literally put the squeeze on them. Specifically, they showed that mechanical pressure exerted on cancer cells made them appear to be normal and healthy cells again.
For their study, the scientists put malignant breast epithelial cells into a gelatin-like substance. The cells were then injected into flexible silicone chambers that allowed the researchers to apply a compressive force to the cancer cells at an early stage of their development. The researchers used time-lapse microscopy over several days to show that early compression induced changes in the malignant cells that gave them the characteristic features of normal cell development.
"People have known for centuries that physical force can influence our bodies," Gautham Venugopalan, who conducted the new experiments as part of his recently completed Ph.D. dissertation at UC Berkeley, said in a media statement. "When we lift weights, our muscles get bigger. The force of gravity is essential to keeping our bones strong. Here we show that physical force can play a role in the growth -- and reversion -- of cancer cells."
The researchers are not necessarily proposing the development of compression bras as a treatment for breast cancer. "Compression, in and of itself, is not likely to be a therapy," said principal investigator Daniel Fletcher, professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley and faculty scientist at the Berkeley Lab.
However, the findings are extremely important because they show cancer cells can be, in a sense, rehabilitated and returned to normalcy."Malignant cells have not completely forgotten how to be healthy; they just need the right cues to guide them back into a healthy growth pattern," Venugopalan concluded.
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Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.
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