The effect of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF), such as those emitted around high-voltage transmission lines on human health, is controversial. Some studies suggest an association between exposure to ELF-EMF and incidence of leukaemia, although little direct evidence exists that exposure causes damage to biological molecules. A new study, published in the Cancer Cell International, presents experimental evidence to show that extremely low frequency electro-magnetic fields can have a potentially damaging effect on the process of cell division in (already) radiation-injured cells, which could lead to them becoming cancerous. Cell division and the growth cycle rely on two major events. The first involves the replication of the cell`s genetic material (DNA). The second involves cell separation into two daughter cells. These steps are separated by two pauses or "gaps", the first occurs after cells have divided, but before the next round of DNA synthesis (G1) and the second between DNA synthesis and division (G2). These "gaps" allow the cell to take stock of each stage of the process before progressing to the next. The checkpoint in G1 prevents cells from duplicating their DNA if conditions are unfavourable, whilst the checkpoint in G2 stops cells from dividing when damage has occurred to the chromosomes (DNA). These checkpoints effectively police the process of cell division so that risk of damaged cells replicating is minimised.
When the molecules involved in cell division are damaged by ionising radiation, for example, it can lead to uncontrolled growth and the development of cancer. The research in Cancer Cell International examines the effects of combined ELF-EMF and ionising radiation on human cells. The researchers could not find any change in the process of cell division in cells exposed to ELF-EMF alone, but exposure to ionising radiation predictably caused the process of division to slow down as the cells were held at each checkpoint in order to repair the damage. It was anticipated that the combined effect of ELF-EMF and ionising radiation would further slow down cell cycle. However, cell division was slightly faster in 12 out of 20 experiments, but never slower.
It is well known that ionising radiation can itself cause cancer, but it seems that ELF-EMF makes the cells push on into division where errors become compounded. The researchers suggest that ELF-EMF may interfere with the G2 checkpoint that normally stops damaged cells entering division before they have had the opportunity to repair the damage, increasing the chances of them becoming cancerous.
The study is clearly at a preliminary stage; however, the researchers hope that this will open up a new line of investigation and help to understand the risks associated with ELF-EMF, for example, suspected in communities living in close proximity to high voltage transmission lines.
Gordon Fletcher | AlphaGalileo
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine