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Scientists find chemotherapy can encourage cancer growth in healthy cells

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The results surprised the research team

Although chemotherapy is effective at killing cancer cells, new research found that it can actually encourage cancer growth in healthy cells that didn't have cancer before. Peter Nelson of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle said the team's findings, which were published in the journal Nature Medicine, were totally unexpected.

The researchers found that healthy cells created a protein called WNT16B after being exposed to chemotherapy. This protein improves the survival of cancer cells and can allow them to grow. The team said this may be a reason why some patients become resistant to chemotherapy and begin to see the disease return after a short time of successful treatment. It's possible that cancer patients could take an additional medicine along with chemotherapy to prevent the unwanted side effect.

Cancer research is still a major topic of research for the medical community. There are even contests run by Google and Siemens aimed at getting young scientists involved with the hunt for a cure.

[Image credit: Nicki Dugan]

This article was written by Anna Washenko and originally appeared on Tecca

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