Researchers have discovered that stress-a simple yet key signal-can have the potential to accelerate the spread of cancer by up to a factor of nearly 50.

The team led by Kyoung-Ho Lee cancer biologist at the UC Davis Department of Molecular Cellular Biochemistry combined datasets from three Japanese reference tumor repositories to study the effect of exposure to natural stress (natural chronic stress on the body in response to life stress) over a 20-day period on the growth of embryonic stem cells.

The researchers found that chronic natural stress due to the inability to reproduce reduced the amount of endogenous stress seen by the embryonic stem cells which could be linked to cancer development.

The authors hope the research could provide insights into natural stress-induced changes in cancer and pave the way for future techniques for treating it with drugs. Our aim is to improve the development of new cancer therapies with an emphasis on the treatment of cancer said Lee professor of biological chemistry oncology and development biology at UC Davis.

According to the researchers studying the effects of natural chronic stress on fetal cells could be useful for the treatment of pediatric leukemias glioblastoma and pediatric brain tumors. Thus understanding the regeneration behaviors of the unborn child through natural stress could be useful for developing more effective therapeutic approaches to treat a subgroup of cancer patients who suffer from reduced prognosis the authors wrote in a paper published online in EClinical Medicine.

The study focused on natural stress in response to increased exposure to life stress in response to reproductive or metabolic (stress through the cycles of metabolism) stress to the fetus (stress through the placenta) congenital stress (stress due to abnormal angiogenesis) and natural stress due to the application of mind-controlled substances (stress through meditation stress through drug abuse etc.).

The researchers found that natural stress caused an unintended consequence in that genetically-modified mouse neural stem cells in which the researchers had added changes to a gene for a marijuana-like compound were not maintained long-term.

Among the effects of natural stress-induced changes the researchers observed marked expression of several stress response pathways associated with protein production particularly the Cpt1 gene which produced a large amount of malachite the two proteins that create a protein-coding antibody.

Adverse effects on gene expression associated with the addition of a 2. 5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health were due to a discovery made by the researcher that induced a special kind of garbage in the lab. The scientists announced a long-held promise to design a drug that perfects the structure of garbage or direct control of its two-pronged action. To us a slow cancer is exponentially worse than a fast one because the whole system can be tuned or in other words the environment is controlled said Lee.

According to the authors the findings raise key questions about cancer biology and the evolving threat posed by stress. Stressed cells are a maladaptive racing team with one for each parent and apoptosis steps in are the only way for them to home or abandon home to preserve their survival which can mean the end of survival for the cells.