How do you detect cancer usually?
By running a few essential tests, of course, you’d say.
Yes, you are right! Today we can detect cancer by running blood tests apart from others like a CT scan, mammogram, X-ray, MRI, biopsies, and so on and on.
On the contrary, most of us always think when going for complicated test procedures that how good it would be if something in this world could naturally detect your cancerous growths.
Wouldn’t it be good to know that your pet dog can be a good place to start?
Can dogs smell cancer? It is true, dogs can detect your cancer as they can smell almost everything abnormal when trained to do so.
But today’s blog is not going to be about our pet dog’s ability to detect cancer, instead, it will be about a far more powerful natural fighter that can detect cancer much faster than even dogs. While trying to bid for a comfortable answer to one of the most commonly asked questions in the world- How to detect cancer, researchers from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) found out something remarkable alongwith researchers from Université Sorbonne Paris Nord, Institut Curie and Inserm1.
They trained a certain species of ants to detect cancer. Don’t you think our future detection procedures can be slightly less worrisome?
Use of Formica fusca ants for detecting cancer
Yes, you heard it right! In the end humanity has come down to the hardest working, secretive, and one of the most intelligent species for help.
Wait, don’t we destroy them everyday by destroying their homes?
But, yes, we are humans and we can do everything. When we can enslave them why to give them homes, of course, they will give you better results in captivity. Yes, they will, surely.
Without worrying much about the environment, let’s move on to what or how we can make them sniff our rotten meat (aka rotten tissues that have revolted against our body and now want to grow unwarranted and continuously).
Before we move on, we will tell you a bit more about the characteristics of the cancer cells.
What are the Formica fusca ants?
Are they different from other ants, we shall check out?
Oh, you have met them if you are in Europe, Southern Asia, and even Africa.
Their borders are:
East Borders: Portugal
South Borders: Italy
Western borders: Japan
Northern bounds: Fennoscandia
Primarily known as the silky or dusty ants.
A peep into the nature of the cancer cells
If you want to find out more about the nature of cancer cells read the below points carefully.
- Cancer cells are known as cells that can grow forever as long as they have enough food sources around them.
- They are mostly known to be cells that never die, meaning they are eternal.
- Usually, cell growth is maintained by a switch in our body.
- Cancerous tissues start when the switch of a single cell or an entire tissue mass malfunctions or stops working completely.
Numerous concepts define the cause of cancerous outgrowths in our bodies. Some of these theories are summated below.
- One of the concepts tells us that enhancers, known better as DNA regulatory elements malfunction leading to the malfunction of the switch and causing cancer.
Enhancers might face mutation (all thanks to the high environmental pollution levels). They are specifically said to be point mutations that destroy the ability of the enhancer to function prolifically.
- Another concept that is widely prevalent for such a loss of control within the cells is centered around the cell adhesion molecules.
- Cell adhesion molecules are nothing but cellular proteins that help in cell-to-cell interaction. It facilitates communication between cells. When the growth of these molecules is repressed or inhibited, it will lead to a loss of control within the cell. How? Refer to this picture below.
When cells function normally, one cell will interact with another and communicate everything as we humans do.
But when the normal interaction hinders due to some unknown or known reasons, you will have a group of cells that have lost their growth control switch.
This causes cancer in us.
Numerous other factors that will also contribute to the cell’s cancerous state like the ones cited above.
How are Formica fusca ants detecting cancer?
Just like they helped Antman, they might help us too, maybe better, if we show them a bit of respect, treat them like equals!
Now, these scientists are smart, they use a reward system and train these ants.
Well, they don’t know they are being trained and what they know is that if they perform a certain role, they get food.
Isn’t it the way humans are also designed?
They were just happy when they were allowed to keep the sugar solution with them whenever they detected the smell they were trained to remember.
Amazingly, the ants could detect the smell of cancer even when they were not being given any rewards after sometime. They lingered around the smell and researchers also found out that these ants could even differentiate cancer between two very different cell lines.
They are not really sniffing your rotten mass but 134 volatile organic compounds released by your body to come to the conclusion that the cell growth process in that particular individual is corrupt in a certain region.
However, you cannot instantly train them. Remember, what they said in Antman, you need to be honest, truthful, and transparent to the ants, and only then will they help you in your mission.
Indeed, time is what you need to train these fearsome, independent, self-reliant creatures as they practically seem to listen to nobody.
What is the next step in the process of cancer detection through ants?
The next step in the process is obviously, a few clinical trials on humans.
Just for your information, each clinical trial is completed in five phases-
Phase 0: Where the drug or the phenomenon is used in only a few patients.
Phase I: Safety analysis phase: Where the proposed phenomena need testing on healthy individuals.
Phase II: Efficacy of treatment: When a typical drug or a test is run on a group of people who have a certain type of cancer.
Phase III: Comparative analysis between what is already there in the market and the novel method or product: Usually double-blind Phase IIIA and III B studies are run on larger populations inflicted with the disease.
NDA submission after which there will be the Phase IV studies.
Phase IV: When the drug is out in the market: Studying the drug’s or the test’s success when it is run in an uncontrolled population and is already out in the market.
Primarily, through separate pharmacovigilance units, safety and efficacy data is collected for the drug and is submitted to the FDA and other drug regulatory authorities like DCGA, EMEA, and many more.
If there is a widespread challenge detected with the use of the drug or the test, usually there is either total recall or a batch recall initiated by the company manufacturing and hoisting the drug.
Finally, when we travel to Mars, maybe, we can have our personalized jar containing a group of these ants with us. Every time, we doubt our bodies, just throw them over our bodies to know if we have cancer.
Once you confirm you have run further tests, and get treated even before they can destroy your home and world, leave alone your body!