Quitting smoking regrows protective lung cells

Quitting smoking regrows protective lung cells

We know that quitting smoking is an excellent way to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. But until now, experts weren’t quite sure why this was the case. Our latest research has uncovered that in people who quit smoking, the body actually replenishes the airways with normal, non-cancerous cells that help protect the lungs, in turn reducing their risk of getting cancer.

Cancer develops when a single rogue cell acquires genetic changes, called mutations, that instruct that cell to ignore all the normal constraints on its growth, causing it to rapidly replicate out of control. Throughout our lives, all of our cells acquire mutations at a steady rate – around 20-50 mutations per cell per year. Thankfully, the vast majority of these mutations are entirely harmless and don’t affect our cells in any measurable way.

But occasionally, a mutation will land in the wrong gene in the wrong cell and push the cell along the path to cancer. We call these genetic changes “driver mutations”. For the cell to become a full-blown cancer cell, it would probably need five to ten or more of these driver mutations.

Thanks to advances in DNA sequencing ...

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