Hibernation Could Pave Way For Cancer Treatment
Feb 21, 2017 09:21 AM EST
Cancer could be tackled more adequately by placing patients into a torpor state like that of a resting, hibernating bear, said researchers.
Tumor development would rapidly slow down or stop while healthy cells in the body become more impervious to radiation, says physicist Marco Durante from the Trento Institute in Italy. The radical thought takes after years of research on hibernating animals, and narrative reports of individuals who have been dove into deep freeze and survived, New Scientist reported.
During hibernation, a type of icy temperature deep sleep, body functions such as heart and breath rate, digestion system and oxygen absorption all slow down. At the sub-atomic molecular level, quality action and protein synthesis are decreased to a slithering pace.
Durante also suggest that all of these effects could have big implications for cancer treatment, and advance cancers that are in fourth stage could be treated. Durante who was speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston on February 19, emphasized that around 50 percent of cancer patients have advanced cancer as they have multiple metastasis (spreading tumors) in the body, Telegraph reported.
According to Durante, metastasis cannot be cured with surgery to remove the cancer or through radiation treatment as it will kill the patients while trying to destroy the cancer, however if the patient is put into synthetic torpor, it could stop the growth of the cancer and gives doctor more time. Hibernation would also the body's ability to withstand radiation, he said.
"You wake up the patients and they are cured - that is our ambition," he added.
At present, it is not in possible to rest or hibernate a human in a protected and controlled way, but Durante believes that 10 years is a reasonable timescale. Synthetic torpor has been initiated in rats, which not at all like mice don't hibernating normally, by controlling a particular part of the brain.