A new study has found that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can suppress breast cancer cells growth. It shows that the EMF can halt the spread of cancer cells to the other parts of the body. The journal “Communications Biology” has published these results.
The electromagnetic field can alter the migrating ability of breast cancer cells
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer. Worldwide, it affects about 2.1 million women per year. Also, in women, it has led to a large number of cancer-linked deaths. According to WHO, in 2018, about 627,00 women have died due to breast cancer.
That is about 15% of all cancer-related deaths among women. The rates of breast cancer are higher in women living in developed areas. And now these rates are increasing in each area.
This study has shown how low-intensity EMFs may suppress the growth of cancer cells. They can do so by inhibiting the formation of thin and long extensions at the end of a migrating cancer cell. A cancer cell can be quite detrimental to the body.
A cancer cell can not only replicate locally, but it can also spread cancer throughout the body. As a result, it can make cancer more harmful. This reason has encouraged the research team to observe the individual cancer cells.
And has also helped them to understand what makes a single cancer cell so devastating. The research team has also found that exposing these cancer cells to a specific type of electric field can somehow alter their migrating ability.
Electromagnetic fields can play an important role in treating breast cancers in the future
The research team, including the cancer biologists and engineers, has uncovered the effects of the EMF on the cancer cells. The team has discovered that breast cancer cells can detect the presence of electromagnetic fields.
Moreover, these cells also have the power to sense the direction from where these fields have emerged. To study these effects, the researchers have built an instrument – Helmholtz coil.
This coil can expose different types of cancer cells to uniform electromagnetic energy. Also, the research team has brought an apparatus to continuously track the path of migrating breast cancer cells.
The purpose of this apparatus was to check how the cells respond to the EMFs energy and what role EMFs can play to treat breast cancer in the future. This apparatus has allowed the team to visualize EMF effects on cancer cells under a microscope. It mimics and recreates the events occurring in the body in a controlled setting, making them easy to test and observe.
The metastatic triple-negative breast cancer cells are the ones that show no response to the hormonal or other therapies targeting a gene expressed in them. The results have shown that these cells were most susceptible to EMFs. Further study has shown that the drug therapies targeting AKT – a pathway for cancer, can increase the EMFs ability to suppress the growth of breast cancer cells.
The research team has carried out this study in a lab. So, there’s a need to test and validate this belief in animals and humans. But still, these outcomes pave the way for researchers, trying to find how the cancer cells migrate and invade other parts of the body.