London, Nov 19 (UNI) In a major breakthrough, scientists have discovered how a cancerous tumour remains dormant in our body for years, without becoming dangerous.
A team led by Professor Robert Schreiber at Washington University School of Medicine found some cancers are kept in a state of ''equilibrium'', by not being able to be completely wiped out but also unable to grow.
The study was published in the online version of the science journal Nature and researched on mice who were genetically engineered to develop cancer, the Daily Mail reported.
Prof Schreiber said,''Thanks to the animal model we have developed, scientists can now reproduce this condition of tumour dormancy in the laboratory and look directly at cancer cells being held in check by the immune system.'' Co-author Dr Mark Smyth, of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia, said,''We may one day be able to use immunotherapy to artificially induce equilibrium and convert cancer into a chronic, but controllable disease which can be curbed by taking a medicine.'' The findings could lead to treatments which allow patients to live with ''neutralised'' cancers for the rest of their lives.