This shows a tumor within a tadplole embryo that has been labeled with red fluorescence to allow tracking. (Credit: Brook Chernet; Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences)

Bioelectric Signals Can Be Used to Detect Early Cancer

Feb. 1, 2013 — Biologists at Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences have discovered a bioelectric signal that can identify cells that are likely to develop into tumors. The researchers also found that they could lower the incidence of cancerous cells by manipulating the electrical charge across cells’ membranes.

“The news here is that we’ve established a bioelectric basis for the early detection of cancer,” says Brook Chernet, doctoral student and the first author of a newly published research paper co-authored with Michael Levin, Ph.D., professor of biology and director of the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology.

Levin notes, “We’ve shown that electric events tell the cells what to do. The voltage changes are not merely a sign of cancer. They control and direct whether the cancer occurs or not.”

Bioelectric signals underlie an important set of control mechanisms that regulate how cells grow and multiply. Chernet and Levin investigated the bioelectric properties of cells that develop into tumors in Xenopus laevis frog embryos.

Read more: Bioelectric signals can be used to detect early cancer — Science Daily.

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