The prospect of breast cancer is a looming fear in many of our lives. Most of us know someone who’s fought their own battle against it, whether a friend or family member.
When you’re concerned about cancer affecting your own life or those of your loved ones, it’s important to stay educated on the latest research to keep yourself healthy and educated about possible treatments.
While keeping up with news on cancer can be depressing, it doesn’t have to be! With each new study or experiment, we’re discovering new facts on breast cancer treatment, and how to more effectively fight against cancer.
This blog will cover the research progress on redox signaling, and how it’s related to potential new breast cancer treatments.
What Does Redox Mean?
In a nutshell, redox is the chemical process of oxidation and reduction: one substance or molecule is reduced, and another is oxidized (combined chemically with oxygen). Reduction and oxidation always go together, and the process as a whole is called “redox.”
When redox reactions occur in our bodies, one of the natural byproducts is reactive oxygen species (ROS): chemically reactive molecules that contain oxygen. ROS is critical in your body’s cell renewal and differentiation during growth.
Redox reactions are a part of how energy is transferred within our bodies, and it’s a delicately balanced process. If one part of the process goes wrong, it could have wide reaching harmful effects.
What Do Redox Reactions Have to Do With Breast Cancer?
All cancers are caused by the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in your body, but what causes that uncontrolled division?
Depending on the type of cancer, there are many different possible causes. A malfunction in the redox process is one possible cause.
During redox reactions, free radical reactions also occur, where electrons detach and reattach to molecule. These free radicals can become harmful if they don’t reattach, and even cause mutation of any cells they encounter, causing cancer.
Aberrant or atypical redox activity is strongly associated with many cancers, including breast cancer.
The latest research draws even more of a connection, suggesting that cancer cells don’t have enough electrons and are more oxidized than normal. This suggests that breast cancer is a redox disease caused by an imbalance in this chemical process.
What Does This Connection Mean for Breast Cancer Treatment?
Cancer is difficult to treat not only because all cancers have such diverse causes and symptoms, but also because the cancerous cells often becomes resistant to any drug treatment over time.
Chemotherapy and radiation target cancer cells; however, healthy cells are also affected by these treatments and this why redox mechanism can help the body to tag and replace unhealthy cells– unfortunately, this health science field is still poorly understood. But we do know that researchers need to start from the assumption that production of unhealthy cells is a redox disease, and consider the effects that any possible treatments have on this important chemical process.
Redox signaling supplements take advantage of this latest research to stabilize active redox signaling molecules, regulating the redox process within your cells.
Although this research sheds light on new ways to keep our cells healthy, more research is needed in this field to come up with more effective ways to treat cancer and other diseases.
Acharya A, Das I, Chandhok D, Saha T. Redox Regulation in Cancer: A Double-edged Sword with Therapeutic Potential. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2010;3(1):23-34. doi:10.4161/oxim.3.1.10095.
Ho M. Cancer a Redox Disease. I-sisorguk. 2012. Available at: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/CanceraRedox_Disease.php. Accessed November 19, 2015.
Ding S, Li C, Cheng N, Cui X, Xu X, Zhou G. Redox Regulation in Cancer Stem Cells. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2015;2015:1-11. doi:10.1155/2015/750798.
YouTube. Dr. Gary Samuelson, PhD Explain Redox Signaling Molecules Science ASEA. 2015. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlGT3KkMau0. Accessed November 19, 2015.