A recent study has gone on to find that that link between cancer and infection is way more strong than previously assumed. The study was conducted at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
It found out that a certain type of bacterial infection can disrupt the DNA cells and cause cancer. This same kind of infection can also weaken the effects of certain anticancer drugs. The researchers highlighted that presently about 20% of the cancers are thought to be caused by infection. Most of these known infections are caused by viruses.
The findings of the study
The team behind this study started their research by investigating the infection that are caused by a bacterial family known as mycoplasmas. These bacteria are linked with cancers, particularly, HIV.
Essentially, these bacteria are free-living microorganisms and for a long time scientists mistook them for being viruses because they don’t have a cell wall. The bacteria contain a protein termed as DnaK, which safeguards other proteins from damage. It also ensures that the proteins fold properly.
The team who conducted this study found the link between cancer and this protein, DnaK. The researchers found out that this protein interacts and lessens the activity of human proteins, which are crucial for DNA repair.
Findings also showed that DnaK can weaken the impact of certain drugs, which enhances the activity of the natural anti-cancer protein p53. Instead, DnaK lessens p53 by binding to USP10, an enzyme that assists in regulating p53.
The impact of the infection on lab rats
The study’s investigations showed that lymphoma quickly developed in two groups of mice with compromised immune systems. One group of mice was infected by mycoplasma strain from a person infected with HIV.
The investigation showed that lymphoma developed quickly in the mycoplasma-infected-immune-compromised mice in comparison with their non-infected counterparts. Additionally, it was learned that the DNA from the bacteria stayed in some of the cancer cells. This means that infection does not have to stay to be able trigger cancer.
Moving forward – some helpful ways to reduce infection
The study has brought forth a really important matter. It shows that cancer and infection may be linked, which requires scientists to rethink the cancer-infection association. It is best to take all the necessary steps to lessen your risk of getting infection.
Below are some helpful tips:
- Get the appropriate vaccine that can help you protect against infections
- Wash your hands frequently, particularly, if you come in contact with a sick person or are using public transport for daily commute
- Wash your hands after sneezing, coughing, etc
- Stay home when you are sick to limit the odds of others catching the infection and getting sick
- Dispose of the tissues that you use immediately after you have used it
- Don’t touch your nose, mouth, or eyes as harmful foreign agents can transfer from your hands into your body
- Don’t share glasses, spoons, cups, dishes, or other cutlery