Chlamydia (green) sheltered inside a human host cell (red).
Chlamydia infections can cause DNA damage that may increase the risk of later developing cancer, a new study suggests.
In the study, human cells growing in lab dishes that were infected with chlamydia were more likely to have DNA damage compared to cells not infected with chlamydia. What's more, this DNA damage was not always repaired properly by the cell, increasing the chances of genetic mutations.
Normally, cells with such DNA damage would activate a process that kills the cells, so that the cell does not turn cancerous. But in the study, the cells with DNA damage overrode this mechanism, and continued to divide. The continued division of cells with DNA mutations could eventually lead to cancer, the researchers said.
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