Cancer Researcher Praises, Explains Cells at Work! Anime's Episode 7
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Dr. Satoru Osuka works as a postdoctoral fellow in the molecular neuro-oncology department of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally from Japan, Osuka took to Twitter this week to explain episode 7 of the currently airing Cells at Work! anime.
In the episode titled "Cancer Cell," the gang faces off against the titular cell, who eventually dies thanks to the body's intervention. Otsuka praised the depiction of cancer in the episode in its representation of immune cells defending the body against cancer in its early stages. He said, "Even from the point of view of a cancer researcher, I think the content was very accurate."
Otsuka explained that in every person's body, real immune cells fight to destroy cancer cells hundreds of times a day. Therefore, cancer rarely occurs. However, the frequency of cancer in elderly people increases by thousands of times because normal cells have more copying errors and become cancer cells. Immune cells are unable to cope with the drastic increase in cancer cells, and they are unable to destroy the cancer in its early stages.
When cancer begins to grow, it uses up a lot of the body's nutrition. Without other major changes in their lives, people can lose about five to ten kilograms (about 11-22 pounds) of weight suddenly. Physicians may note this unexpected weight loss, suspect cancer, and then conduct tests. Otsuka noted that weight loss in not necessarily a sign of cancer, but he said reading the Cells at Work! manga makes it easier for people to remember that it can be a symptom.
Otsuka said on Twitter that he highly recommends the Cells at Work! manga, and he provided a link to the first volume on Amazon. He believes the manga succeeds in telling the story of bodies' cells in an interesting and accurate way. Otsuka thinks that both children and adults can learn from the manga. "You can't remember with textbooks about living things," he said, "but with this you can remember. Definitely check out the manga or anime."
"Truly grateful" for the anime, Otsuka believes it can be a "good opportunity to understand cancer in detail." Otsuka thinks the anime can help people get a deeper understanding of diseases and the mechanisms at work behind them, which can combat medical misinformation and help increase the level of communication between doctors and patients.
Otsuka ended his Twitter thread with a word of caution. Although it is certain that immune cells fight cancer, people should be cautious of products that claim to boost immunity and thus defend against cancer. He said there is a big industry centered on this concept, but there is no confirmation that working to boost the daily strength of the immune system is effective in cancer prevention. He advised people to be wary of "suspicious businesses" that have become prevalent.
The Cells at Work! anime premiered on July 7, and Crunchyroll is streaming the series as it airs. Kodansha Comics is releasing the manga in English, and the first four volumes are currently available for purchase.
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history