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Indian-origin scientist identifies cancer’s food sensors

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London: An Indian-origin researcher from Oxford University has identified a protein used by cancer tumours to help them detect food supplies.

Initial results show that targeting the protein could restrict cancerous cells’ ability to grow.

“We found that aggressive cancer cells manufacture more protein named PAT4 which enables them to make better use of available nutrients than the cells around them – including healthy tissue,” said Dr Deborah Goberdhan from Oxford University’s department of physiology, anatomy and genetics.

Cancer cells often have restricted access to the body’s nutrient-rich blood supply.

The ability to sense and acquire nutrients is critical for a cancer to grow.

Dr Goberdhan and cancer researcher Adrian Harris collaborated to develop an antibody that could be used to highlight PAT4 in human tissue samples.

This was then used to study anonymous tumour samples taken from patients with colorectal cancer, a common form of the disease.

The results were compared to the known outcomes for the patients.

Those who had higher levels of PAT4 in their tumours did less well than those with lower levels – being more likely to relapse and die.

The researchers then looked at what happened when PAT4 levels were reduced. They showed that by reducing PAT4 levels, cancerous tumours grew more slowly.

“’These findings support each other. Not only do higher levels of PAT4 mean a worse outcome, but lowering levels improves the situation,” Dr Goberdhan pointed out.

“This means that we have identified a mechanism which cancer cells prefer to use and which we might be able to target as part of a combination treatment,” he concluded.

The research was published in the science journal Oncogene.

(IANS)

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Study Shows Weight Loss Surgery Can Reduce Risk of Skin Cancer

Bariatric surgery, a weight loss operation, is associated with a 61 per cent decrease in the risk of developing malignant skin cancer, according to a study.

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Bariatric Surgery
representational image. Pixabay

Bariatric surgery, a weight loss operation, is associated with a 61 per cent decrease in the risk of developing malignant skin cancer, according to a study.

Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer, most closely associated with excessive sun exposure. Obesity is an established risk factor for cancer and some studies indicate that intentional weight loss sometimes reduces the risk.

However, evidence for a link between obesity, weight loss and malignant melanoma is limited.

The new findings showed that bariatric surgery led to a 42 per cent reduced risk of skin cancer in general compared to controls given usual obesity care.

The study “supports the idea that obesity is a melanoma risk factor and indicates that weight loss in individuals with obesity can reduce the risk of bariatric surgery that has increased steadily in many countries over several decades”, said lead author Magdalena Taube from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Cancer word on newspaper
Cancer. Pixabay

The results were presented at the 2018 European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, Austria.

The protective effect of bariatric surgery on skin cancer was observed in a group of 2,007 obese participants who were then followed for a median of 18 years.

These were compared with a control group consisting of 2,040 individuals who matched with the participants who underwent surgery on sex, age, anthropometric measurements, cardiovascular risk factors, psychosocial variables and personality traits.

Also Read: Study Shows that Humans Are Influencing Cancer in Wild Animals

To analyse malignant melanoma incidence, statistical tests were used to compare time to first melanoma cancer diagnosis between the surgery and control groups.

In additional analyses, risk ratios between the surgery and control groups were compared. (IANS)

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