The ritual of «baptism of the dead» helped scientists in the fight against cancer

© Fotolia / Spectral-Design3D image of a cancer cellThe ritual of «baptism of the dead» helped scientists in the fight against cancer© Fotolia / Spectral-Design

American scientists have identified the mechanism of occurrence of the leading to cancer syndrome of hereditary polyposis of the bowel using a special «deceased database» which in the ritual purposes used by the Mormons, says the magazine The Atlantic.

Scientist mark Skolnick with a team of researchers for several decades engaged in the study of genetic factors of cancer. Under his supervision, is a 61-year-old Greg Johnson, a member of the Mormon Church. His mother, grandmother and great grandmother died from colon cancer, the disease was caused by a mutation of the APC gene, responsible for adhesion of cells of the intestinal epithelium. When gene disorders occur, says Skolnick, this leads to the appearance of polyps and then to cancer.

Scientists have suggested that mutation of the APC gene was passed on to Johnson by inheritance. To prove it, researchers had to study all the relatives of Johnson. For this they turned to his pedigree, recorded in the huge database of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints (the official name of the Mormon Church).

The genealogical database created by the Mormons in order to carry out the rite of baptism of the dead, because they believe that without baptism it is impossible to enter the Kingdom of God. During the ritual necessary to mention the name of the ancestor, after that, the water dipped «mediator».

In the end, scientists did a study in the Mormon settlements of Utah, and also in the States of Idaho and Wyoming, where there are also the numerous communities. The specialists took a genealogical data base of believers with registry data cancer patients. In addition, they examined the patients at the local hospitals and collected data of the results of the blood test and colonoscopy.

«I didn’t know how Mormons are open to such research. But no one ever said «no». They said, «It won’t help me but will help my children and grandchildren,» shares Dr. Lisa cannon-Albright, working under the guidance Skalnica.

The study helped the staff to more efficiently find and treat colon cancer in the early stages. In particular, they experienced on Johnson a number of drugs that have proven effective.

«If something can prevent colon cancer in this high-risk group (with inherited mutation of gene APC — ed), then perhaps it will help other groups. In part, this is why the results of clinical trials were so compelling,» — said in turn, Professor at the University of Utah Deborah Neklason.