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Bioelectric signals

The body electric: Early cancers can be detected and affected by bioelectric signals, study shows

Monday, February 25, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: bioelectric signals, healthy cells, cancer

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(NaturalNews) Could it be possible to not only identify the presence of cancer cells inside the body long before they have the chance to develop into malignant tumors, but also to alter their course and prevent the onset of full-blown cancer? One new study set to be published in the journal Disease Models and Mechanisms suggests so, having found that the electromagnetic field naturally produced by cells and bodily tissue may hold the key to changing and even halting the growth of malignant tumors.

Biologists from the Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences recently made this fascinating discovery after evaluating how the electrical charges constantly sent across cell membranes affect cancer cells specifically. As it turns out, the bioelectric signals produced throughout the body have a direct effect on whether or not cancerous cells have the chance to grow and proliferate, and altering these signals can mean the life or death of cancer cells. Additionally, cancer cells themselves also have a unique bioelectric signature that is capable of being altered as well.

"The news here is that we've established a bioelectric basis for the early detection of cancer," explains Brook Chernet, a doctoral student at Tufts and one of the study's authors, about the findings. In short, Chernet and her team have gained a more thorough understanding of how bioelectric signals work, and how they regulate the growth and proliferation of cells, both benign and malignant.

Altering bioelectric signals to promote healthy cells

Previous research conducted at Tufts has already revealed that bioelectric signal manipulation can influence how cells behave and even form, affecting their rate of spread, migration, physical shape in vivo (in an actual living organism), and how effectively and efficiently they are able to repair organs and appendages. Now, researchers have uncovered more of the logistics behind how these same signals influence cancer cells, which the body is designed to naturally offset when in a healthy, vibrant state, but that can become disrupted due to various factors.

After injecting frog embryos with messenger RNA material that induced the development of tumor-like growths, the Tufts research team observed that the tumor sites had "unique depolarized membrane voltage" that differentiated them from surrounding tissues. And upon further investigation, it was discovered that altering this polarization effectively suppressed abnormal cell growth, which implies that simple modifications to the bioelectric code of both cancerous and noncancerous cells may be able to effectively eradicate them before they can cause harm.

"We hypothesized that the appearance of oncogene-induced tumors can be inhibited by alteration of membrane voltage, and we were right," adds Dr. Michael Levin, professor of biology and director of the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology, a co-author of the study. "We've shown that electric events tell the cells what to do. The voltage changes are not merely a sign of cancer. They control and direct whether the cancer occurs or not."

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