Scientists in the US have identified a potential new way of combating cancer by manipulating certain electrical charges within the body.
The Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences team have discovered a bioelectric signal that can identify cells that are likely to develop into tumours, as tumour sites have unique depolarised membrane voltage relative to surrounding tissue.
By changing this bioelectric code, the researchers were able to suppress abnormal cell growth among frog test subjects, allowing them to combat the cancer before it had fully developed.
Dr Michael Levin, professor of biology and director of Tufts University's centre for regenerative and developmental biology, said: "We've shown that electric events tell the cells what to do. The voltage changes are not merely a sign of cancer; they control and direct whether the cancer occurs or not."
Earlier this week, a report from Cancer Research UK demonstrated that men are more than 35 per cent more likely to die from cancer than women in the UK, with 82,500 males losing their life to the disease every year.See all the latest jobs in Science