Authors Name: 
Clare Foley
University: 
Maynooth University
Category: 
Life Sciences
Highly commended

The Bioelectrical Interplay Between Inflammation and Cancer.

It is believed that fundamentally cancer is caused by genetic mutations in an individual cell which then divides in an uncontrolled manner. Animal cells, once differentiated, maintain their functional identity according to their environment, the tissue structures, in which they reside. Inflammation can alter this environment to the extent that the control mechanisms assigning cell identity can become distorted. Bioelectrical gradients have been shown to greatly contribute to the regulation of form and function of healthy tissues and their disruption, as occurs during inflammatory processing, has likewise been observed to induce the dysregulated behaviours involved in cancer. High resolution molecular analysis is allowing for detailed investigation of bioelectrical signalling. Considering a number of examples where alteration of endogenous electric signals alone can give rise to carcinogenesis, it is proposed here that inflammation is an instigator of cancer due, not only to chemical cross-talk but also, to the bioelectrical disturbances involved in the inflammatory process. Possible clinical applications of bioelectrical manipulation technologies and their varying feasibilities are discussed.