Three to several hundred altered cells occur in the human body during the day. Why do some of them become cancerous?

One immunologist is often offended by his patients when they say to him, “Doctor, my immune system is not working!”

About Super-Immunity

Indeed, people often underestimate the immune system. And of all the mechanisms of the human body it is still the least studied. Why is that? The main reason is that it tends to actively change its activities in response to the influence of the external environment. This constant adaptability and instability makes the study of immune responses quite a complex process.

But the interesting thing is that the immune system reacts not only to external factors, but also to “violators” inside the body, which are formed from their own cells.

The human body is an extremely totalitarian system! No cell has the right to become another (say, retrain from bronchial epithelial to neuron), can reproduce when it is not necessary. Moreover, each cell has a special mechanism to report to the immune system: to show on its surface all the molecules that it forms at the moment. And immune cells – lymphocytes – check it, contacting this surface.

If we talk about reproduction, then such a right in general endowed with very few cells of the body. So if someone wants to do it, it’s most likely a tumor cell. And it is the immune system that must stop this process.

So, any tumor is a process of unlimited and uncontrolled cell division. Uncontrolled reproduction involves the appearance of new and/or altered molecules in the cell, which it must show on its surface. It is on these changes that lymphocytes should find a potential cancer center. The intruder cell they catch will be immediately destroyed.

According to different data, within one day in the human body there are three to several hundred altered cells. And this is due to a number of reasons. The products we consume, for example, may contain chemicals that can alter the DNA of cells and therefore cause swelling.

Some viruses (such as the human papillomavirus) also have this ability. Also carcinogenic properties are endowed with physical factors of the external environment, such as radiation, ultraviolet radiation, etc.

But let’s just say – not always cancer comes from a snack of fast food. The action of carcinogens and most oncogenic viruses is non-specific and is not aimed directly at altering those areas of DNA of human cells responsible for controlling division. Their influence is accidental. For example, they can get into a cell that has already completely lost the ability to share, and no changes will happen to it. And even when the carcinogen does hit the target, a healthy immune system will detect and eliminate the threat.

What does a tumor cell that wants to divide and change where it is impossible to do so? Tricky offenders have a number of mechanisms to prevent immune punishment. They may stop showing the proteins that form on their surface.

Many laboratories around the world are working to identify the compounds by which the tumor “recruits” lymphocytes, because this will allow in the future to fight cancer more effectively.

The main discoveries and successes in oncoimanology are yet to come, and yet the task of each of us is to help the immune system to be in good shape as much as possible.

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