Quitting smoking favors the appearance of protective cells that regenerate the lungs

A new study published in the journal Nature reveals that when you stop smoking a group of cells, unknown until now, wake up and restore part of the lungs reducing the risk of lung cancer.

The risk factors and causes of lung cancer are variable, but, without a doubt, smoking is considered the main danger to develop this disease.

According to the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), about 80 percent of these tumors occur in people who smoke or have recently stopped.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that about 30 percent of deaths from cancer are due to risk factors that can be prevented such as lack of physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking or poor diet.

Quitting smoking is the first step to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco in our body, especially in the lungs, and a new scientific finding has just discovered how cells that have not been damaged are able to protect the lungs and reduce the risk of cancer

Healthy cells wake up to protect the lungs
It is never too late to quit smoking. The research, prepared by a team of Wellcome Sanger and University College London, reveals that, when you quit smoking, a group of cells, unknown until now, wake up and restore part of the lungs.

The study, which has been published in the specialized journal Nature, has been based on the DNA sequencing of a group of smokers, ex-smokers, people who had never smoked and children. In total, researchers have analyzed the DNA of 632 individual cells from 16 participants to see how they act against tobacco exposure.

First, the group of people who had never tried a cigar had experienced a regular and constant rhythm in the number of cell mutations in their body. In this case, as the researchers argue, the natural number of mutations in a 60-year-old person is 1,000 to 1,500. After analyzing all their cells, they realized that only 5 percent had undergone some conductive mutation (alteration of the less indicated cell gene that may favor the appearance of tumor).

Smokers have 5,000 more mutations
But what happened to the smoking group? Each cell had about 5,000 mutations more than in non-smokers, which also leads to an increase in conductive mutations.

Once at this point, the team of researchers discovered an important advance. People who had quit smoking had two types of cells: some with cell mutations similar to those of smokers and other normal cells with characteristics of people who had never smoked.

What does this mean? Our body, by quitting smoking, regenerates cells that are not damaged by tobacco to protect the lungs and, therefore, reduce the risk of cancer.

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