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‘Polyploid cells can protect liver against cancer’

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Health Desk-- 11 February, 2018: Polyploid cells in the liver can protect the liver against cancer, said researchers from the US University of Texas (UT) Southwestern on Friday.

Researchers of the Children's Medical Center Research Institute (CRI) at UT Southwestern developed new methods to transiently and reversibly alter ploidy for the first time, which led to the finding, the university said a press release.

"This was an important advance because it allowed us to separate the effects of ploidy from the effects of genes that change ploidy," said Hao Zhu, assistant professor at CRI.

"Using these techniques, we were able to show polyploid liver cells protected the liver against cancer formation in the mouse," said Hao, who is also a cancer research scholar at Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).

Polyploid cells carry two or more sets of chromosomes. Most human cells are diploid, meaning they have two sets of chromosomes -- one set inherited from each parent.

Although rare in most human tissues, these cells are prevalent in the hearts, blood, and livers of mammals. Polyploidisation also increases significantly when the liver is exposed to injury or stress from fatty liver disease or environmental toxins that could cause liver cancer later in life.