Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In a disturbing revelation, scientists warned that Cancer, one of the most deadliest illnesses, can actually be contagious.
This means, that the illness, previously thought to be non-contagious, may actually be transmitted from human to human.
The basis for this shocking revelation, is a study carried out on mussels, cockles and clams, collected off the coasts of Canada and Spain, that had been infected with tumours which originated in another individual.
According to Your News Wire, originally attributed to the journal Nature, the results indicate that transmission of contagious cancer cells is a widespread phenomenon in the marine environment, with multiple independent lineages developing in multiple species. Cases of transmissible cancer appear to outnumber spontaneous disease, at least in the species investigated so far.
Furthermore, the researchers added that the cancers usually spread between animals of the same species, but they had found one example of cross-species transmission. These transmissible cancers constitute a distinct class of infectious agent and show the remarkable ability of tumours to acquire new phenotypes [genetic types] that promote their own survival and propagation.
Professor Stephen Goff, one of the researchers, from Columbia Medical Centre, expressed a kind of awe at the discovery saying that the findings changed his preception of the marine world.
He told The Independent, that, “It’s interesting to note that the ocean is a sea of various bacteria and now [cancer] cells that are capable of being pathogens. I guess it’s a kind of change of thinking, that there are contagious cells floating around in the sea that can colonise a susceptible host.”
The next plan of action is to study the genetic processes that allow tumours from one creature to infect another, which might provide an insight into how cancer spreads from person to person.