Swiss scientists have created cells that darken at elevated levels of calcium (hypercalcemia). It is believed that this signal is the beginning of many diseases, including cancer. The results of the study were published in the scientific journal Science Translational Medicine.
Tattooing is a special cell that reacts to the level of calcium and produces a dark pigment melanin, in case there is too much calcium.
To test the cells, the researchers injected them into the mice. As expected, dark spots appeared almost immediately in mice with cancer, although there were no other signs of tumors for 38 days.
To the elevated level of calcium lead only a few types of cancer: breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate or lung cancer. However, scientists noted that an increase in calcium in the blood signals a variety of other problems that can occur asymptomatically or at an early stage.
Researchers plan to continue creating cells that will recognize other biomarkers of diseases. According to them, the development of cells is still at an early stage, but one day it can be an effective way to recognize diseases even before the first symptoms.