Cancer is uncontrolled, unprogrammed proliferation of abnormal cells. Cancer results from changes in genes which control our cell function, growth and division.
Recently researchers from Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge studied effect of low dose ionizing radiation, which are commonly used in medical imaging on cellular growth in mice esophagus. Findings of the study are published in Cell stem cell. In research conducted, Wild type cells (normal cell) and p53 mutant cells (abnormal cells) were exposed to oxidative stress caused by low dose ionizing radiation. Low dose ionising radiation used was a 50 milligram dose of radiation, equivalent to three or four CT scans. Study found what p53 mutant cells are not sensitive to low dose ionizing radiation whereas healthy, wild type cells stops proliferation and differentiation. It results in increase in number of abnormal cells. Authors suggested this change can be prevented by combining antioxidant treatment with low dose ionizing radiation. Antioxidant helps by promoting growth of healthy, wild type cells and p53 mutant differentiation.
Lead author of the study, Professor Phil Jones said, “Medical imaging procedures using radiation, such as CT scans and x-rays, have a very low level of risk – so low that it's hard to measure. This research is helping us understand more about the effects of low doses of radiation and the risks it may carry. More research is needed to understand the effects in people.”