Two consecutive punches can knock out a common cancer from the sea turtle body. Like some cancers in the best treated person – first by surgery to remove the tumor and then with chemotherapy – the turtles have also had surgery and treatment with an anti-cancer drug. named fluorouracil.
Combining this treatment has resulted in great results in reducing the recurrence of fibropapilloma disease, a type of cancer that is particularly dangerous and easy to kill marine turtles, from 60% to 18%, according to the study. on Communications Biology magazine.
Because tumors share a genetic flaw similar to other types of cancer in humans, scientists say the treatment on turtles can teach us a lesson – to apply anti-cancer measures. Positive letters and for similar signs on people.
In other words, when we help the turtles, they will repay us.
Fibropapilloma is a cancer that usually occurs on sea turtles
Fibropapilloma is a cancer that usually causes tumors to grow rapidly on the mouth, in the eyes and on the flippers of sea turtles. It makes animals unable to eat, swim, and have difficulty in some other functions, gradually causing the inevitable substance.
Biologists in Florida first observed the disease in green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) more than a century ago. From the 1990s, they knew that Fibropapilloma cancers can be transmitted by a herpes-like virus called chelonid herpesvirus 5 (ChHV5).
Today, this cancer is found around the world, especially in warm climates. Researchers working at a Florida sea turtle hospital compared gene activity in human tumors to gene activity in healthy green sea turtle tissue.
The results show that tumors grow thanks to a protein network very similar to a protein network that promotes people with skin cancer and basal cell carcinoma. Therefore, they tried anticancer drugs on turtles.
Comparisons show that ChHV5 itself does not work when the tumor begins to form, more surprisingly, genes that control neuronal cell formation are also very active in cancer tissue, the researchers saved. I mean.
Like sunlight is a risk factor for human skin cancer, this is also a factor that increases the chances of cancer in turtles, according to the report. Other environmental factors, such as pollution, can also be involved in the process, since tumors are rarely seen in animals that live in pristine environments, even if those animals carry the virus. ChHV5.
A turtle has surgery to remove a cancer of Fibropapilloma
The incidence of Fibropapilloma tumors in turtles has increased 10-fold in the past 1 year. Meanwhile, human-related cancers also tripled in 4 years, accounting for 15% of all cases of cancer.
Scientists hope that by studying the disease on turtles, they can also help people cope with cancers, sharing the common traits in the genetic signal promoted by the virus.
We help turtles heal and avoid the danger of extinction. And this work also gives us lessons. This is a study that both sides benefit.