• Treatment New weapon against liver cancer

  • Prevention Physical exercise, a shield against cancer

José Tubio, a researcher at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia), has been working in collaboration with scientists from England, Japan and Spain for years. Their goal: to understand how it is possible that a virus infection can lead to cancer. Specifically,

the hepatitis B virus (HBV)

. 20% of these patients end up dying from cirrhosis or liver cancer. What happens for this degeneration to occur? After months and months of research, this international group has managed to describe a phenomenon that explains this progression from virus to tumor.

As the Spanish author explains to this newspaper, "we have found supermutations in liver cancer that are caused by the hepatitis B virus", even "20 years before the tumor is diagnosed."

An important advance that has just been published in the journal 'Nature Communications'.

The results obtained in this work "suggest that

if the treatment against the hepatitis B virus is advanced in patients infected with the virus, it could save many people from developing liver cancer


At this point, it should be remembered that 4% of the world population is affected by HBV, so "there are many people (240 million people) who could potentially benefit from our finding," says the Spaniard.

This is hopeful news that sheds light on where there were no answers, thanks to the study of a total of 296 liver carninomas. This is how the new phenomenon that could be behind the onset and progression of this type of tumor has been described. "Using state-of-the-art DNA sequencing technologies, we have verified that, frequently, virus DNA integrations are mediating alterations in the genome of liver cells", explains Paula Otero, co-author of the article and researcher at the Singular Center for Research in Medicine Molecular and Chronic Diseases (CiMUS).

In other words, "in our genome we see other types of anomalies -such as losses of native DNA or fusions between different chromosomes- which, ultimately, cause protective genes against cancer to be lost," Otero continues.

Therefore, it would be the absence of these genes (which in normal conditions prevent cells from dividing uncontrollably) that could stimulate tumor formation.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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