Saturday, April 27, 2013

Moles are our bodies mechanism to stop cells from becoming cancerous tumors.

guacaMOLE!!
Most people in the world have a few moles. They can come at any age, generally starting in early childhood.[1]
Most people know that moles can become cancerous tumors. And know to check ones if they seem irregular. 

The truth is, all moles are tumors. 

When I was writing this, I expected that to be the big shock, I found out this when looking for why moles grow hair faster than other parts of your skin. The reason is the moles have overactive cells, and so, the hair on it grows faster. 

But that is not the big shock at all, some research seems to suggest that moles are our bodies mechanism to contain and stop cells from becoming cancerous.

Woah, of all the things I would do today, I never thought I would be thanking my moles for keeping me alive.

A mole is basically some skin cancer that changed it's mind. Some cells started to divide quickly on a path to cancer, and then for some reason, they stopped. [2] Anytime that cancer suddenly stops is worth investigating, scientists like Dr. Mooi believe that the process in which moles do this may be an important way that that body stops cancer. [3] On the subject he says, "It is a fair guess to say that this mechanism protects us from cancer over and over again,...Perhaps on a daily basis.". [4]

Think about that, every mole you have is some cancer your body stopped, but even more surprising, it's only the stops that you see, the same process that makes moles may be protecting you from cancer every single day.

The secret behind the nevus' ability is in a gene called BRAF, which causes cells to divide. However if BRAF notices cancer it then turns on another gene called p16, at which point the cell stops dividing indefinitely.

To confirm that BRAF is really doing this "Dr. Leonard Zon and Elizabeth Patton of Children's Hospital, Dr.Fisher, and their colleagues produced moles in zebrafish by giving them the BRAF gene. Next they tried the same experiment in zebrafish that lacked a gene, p53, [not having p53] prevented the BRAF gene from activating the cell's brakes on cell division. The result was a malignant cancer, moles that quickly turned into deadly melanomas." [5]


What's even more exciting than this knowledge is an application of this knowledge, something that uses the BRAF gene to help fight against cancer. One such application is the prescription only medicine Vemurafenib (marketed as Zelboraf). The name Vemurafenib comes from V600E mutated BRAF inhibition. The V600E mutation causes the BRAF gene to make cells divide rapidly, but removes the failsafe it contains to make them stop, causing cancer. This specific mutation is present in 60% of melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer. [6] Sadly Vemurafenib does not cure melanoma, but it does give hope to finding a cure and better treatment, on average, patients with late stage melanoma treated with Vemurafenib lived another 30 months, rather than 24 months without, an increase of 25%. Also, in the first six months of taking the drug, more than half of the patients experienced a significant shrinkage in the size of their tumors. [7]

What is amazing to me is that it was only discovered in 2002 that mutations in the BRAF gene had any relation to cancer, and less than a decade after a drug was approved that used this knowledge to help fight cancer. It feels good to know that science continues to work to fight against cancer, and we really are getting closer and closer to a cure every day.


Side note:
Moles are usually an indicator that the body has performed the awesome function of stopping cancer, but if you notice a mole that is not a plain 'ol circle of darker skin, meaning that it is shaped irregularly or colored with multiple shades, it is very important that you get it checked by a doctor as soon as possible. For more information on doing this, go here.


5 comments:

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  3. Mole on penis denotes extramarital affair or relationship with other woman outside of marriage

    Learn more about moles visit here

    significance of mole

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  4. Thanks for sharing such an informative post. Sometimes we didn't realize how these moles are harmful for us. So the best option is Mole Check. By this way you can analyze the change in your mole and timely contact to a dermatologist.

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  5. Reason why and how mole occur on body

    As per the Mayo Clinic, researchers don’t comprehend reason mole occur on body. In any case, it’s normal for grown-ups to have from 10 to 40 moles on their bodies, says the Cleveland Clinic.

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