Osteosarcoma Cells Can Override The Body’s Biological Clock to Grow and Survive

According to a recent article from indiatoday, a new study has revealed information about how osteosarcoma and other cancer cells manage to survive in the body. The new research suggests the cancer can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm in order to grow and withstand conditions that would kill normal cells.

Osteosarcoma is an aggressive form of bone cancer that is commonly found in teenagers and young adults. Symptoms are bone pain near the affected area, often in the femur or behind the knee. The cancer normally occurs at the sites of bone growth. Since the affected bone is weaker than healthy bone, a sudden fracture can often be the catalyst for discovery of the tumor. There are several genetic mutations that can cause the cancer. Despite persistent hearsay, there has yet to be a scientifically verified link between this cancer and fluoride. A characteristic feature of osteosarcoma is the formation of bone within the tumor itself. To learn more about osteosarcoma, click here.

Cancer tumors spread and grow by producing an unusually high amount of proteins and nucleic acids. Any cell that increases protein synthesis will have some proteins that do not fold as they should. Cells have an unfolded protein response (UFR), which slows the synthesis process so that the misfolded proteins can be refolded correctly. However, eventually a buildup of misfolded proteins will cause the cell to die. Cancer cells are capable of slowing down the synthesizing of proteins as needed, so that there is never sufficient misfolded protein buildup to kill them.

In the study, a chemical was used to induce UFR in the osteosarcoma cells. The activation altered the concentration of Bmal1, which normally rises and falls with day and night cycles. However in the cancer cell UFR Bmal1 stayed at a low level at both day and night. The longer the UFR state was induced, the lower Bmal1 levels went. Low levels of the Bmal1 protein were essential for the cancer cells to continue to grow. Cancer patients with higher Bmal1 levels survived longer, and if levels of the protein were increased, normal protein synthesis could continue, which kept the cancer cells from growing.

This new research has big implication for people searching to understand this rare form of cancer.


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