Polyploidy is the name of the condition that affects a cell that has more chromosomes than normal. Studying cancer patients, scientists have noted that about 14% of patients with breast cancer and 35% of patients with cancer of the pancreas has cells with this condition, with three or more sets of chromosomes, rather than the normal, that is two.
Trying to repeat the mechanism which produces cells with polyploidy, scientists have discovered a form of cell division unknown to science.
Normally, cell division begins with a synthesis phase, when a duplicate of the entire contents of the cell is made, including the chromosomes in the nucleus. During mitosis, the two sets are separated, traveling in opposite directions within the cell. Finally, cytokinesis, the cell is divided into two cells, marking the end of mitosis.
The researcher, professor Mark Burkard, the school of Medicine and public health at the University of Wisconsin (USA) and his crew, was trying to create cells with more than one copy of chromosomes, mimicking the cancer. For this, he blocked the cytokinesis with a chemical component, and waited to see what was happening.
Instead of generating abnormal cells, the Division had forming normal cells in most cases. Trying to figure out how this happened, scientists began auditioning. The first one was with a cell with two nuclei, which surprisingly is divided into two normal cells, without going through mitosis.
This new form of Division received the name of clerocinese, meaning “distributed heritage”, to distinguish it from cytokinesis. In about 90% of the time that a cell with polyploidy if shared, she produced two normal cells.
Prof. Burkard wants to figure out a way to raise the clerocinese mechanism in cells with polyploidy, bringing to 99% the number of times that normal daughter cells are generated. He believes that, to achieve this, you’ll be able to download the index of incidence of cancer caused by cells with polyploidy. [Science 2.0, G1, iSaúde]
Image courtesy of *** Harold R ***