Scientists have new insights into the role chromosomes play in cell division, and it could be a major breakthrough in the fight against cancer.
Cell division is a complex process typically performed by the body without error. However, when errors occur in the process during cytokinesis or DNA separation, this could trigger cancer, Sci-News reports.
Published in the journal Nature, the new study outlines the observations of researchers during cell division. Chromosomes release signals during the process that influence the cell cortex to reinforce the microtubles’ actions. These cable-like structures pull the chromosomes to opposite sides of a cell and tell the cortex where division should take place, reports Tech Times.
In other words, the chromosomes supervise the entire process, and in affect tell the cells where to divide. Chromosomes not believe to have an active role in cytokinesis, until now.
“This is so important because cell division is so central to life,” said Gilles Hickson, an author for the study.
This is important because cell division is so central to life, and to certain diseases.
Cancer is one such disease that is caused by uncontrolled cell division. Once scientists better understand the underlying reason for the uncontrolled cell division, the potential to target celluar structures and stop cancers from spreading – or even beginning – is a real possibility.
Researchers are confident that with further research they will determine exactly when the cell division process goes wrong and figure out how to exploit the underlying mechanism. Their research includes genetic models, such as the fruit fly.
In an unrelated study, scientists are researching the venom from specific types of cone snails in an effort to come up with a medicinal cocktail that could cure illnesses, including cancer.