Saturday April 20, 2019

Chronic Diseases Raise Cancer and Mortality Risk

Chronic diseases are not yet a target in cancer prevention schemes 

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Chronic diseases are not yet included in cancer prevention schemes.
Chronic diseases are not yet included in cancer prevention schemes.
  • Many chronic diseases are found to have been the cause of cancer
  • This also has an effect on the mortality rate
  • Chronic diseases are not yet a target in cancer prevention schemes

Several common chronic diseases including hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, together account for more than a fifth of new cancer cases and more than a third of cancer deaths, finds a study.

Chronic diseases were responsible for 71 per cent of deaths globally in 2015, primarily from cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and respiratory disease, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015, published in the Lancet.

Chronic diseases can cause cancer as well.
Chronic diseases can cause cancer as well.

The study found that cardiovascular disease markers, diabetes, chronic kidney disease markers, pulmonary disease, and gouty arthritis marker were individually associated with risk of developing cancer or cancer death.

Also Read: Colorectal Cancer Rising Among Young Adults

High chronic disease risk scores were also associated with substantial reduction in life span.

The highest scores were associated with 13.3 years of life lost in men and 15.9 years of life lost in women.

They also found that physical activity was associated with a nearly 40 per cent reduction in the excess risks of cancer and cancer death associated with chronic diseases and markers.

Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay
Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay

Besides, chronic diseases, lifestyle factors like smoking, insufficient physical activity, insufficient fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol consumption, also lead to cancer, said the researchers led by Xifeng Wu, Professor at the University of Texas in Houston, US.

Also Read: Alcohol can be linked with seven types of Cancer: Research

According to the study, published in the journal BJM, chronic diseases are not targeted in the current cancer prevention strategies.

Studies have shown that certain chronic diseases may predispose to cancer, but these studies generally assessed chronic diseases or disease markers individually.

Cancer prevention schemes are now focusing on chronic diseases as well. IANS
Cancer prevention schemes are now focusing on chronic diseases as well. IANS

Yet chronic diseases tend to be clustered together, so there is a need to understand more about their joint impact on cancer risk, the researchers mentioned.

For the study, the team included 405,878 men and women with no history of cancer.

They investigated the combined effect of eight common chronic diseases or disease markers on cancer risk compared with lifestyle factors. IANS

Next Story

This Tiny Cell is Good News for Cancer Survivors

This approach to fertility restoration is safe," says Bhartiya pointing out to earlier studies carried out in her laboratory in mice which had shown that this method restored the role of non-functional ovaries and resulted in the birth of fertile offsprings

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A scientist at the National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (NIRRH) in Mumbai — an institute under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) — says a new type of stem cell identified by her team can help restore fertility in men and women who have undergone treatment for cancer.

Cancer treatment, or “oncotherapy”, that involves use of radiation and chemicals, renders patients infertile as an unwanted side effect and, while cured of cancer, they cannot beget children.

Though women are born with a lifetime reserve of “oocytes” ( immature eggs), these are wiped out by oncotherapy. In males, the testes responsible for the production of sperms, stop making them following cancer treatment.

Currently accepted approaches for fertility preservation require male patients to deposit their sperm in “cryo-banks” before beginning cancer treatment for later use. Similarly women, wanting to have children, must have their eggs or embryos “cryopreserved” for use after oncotherapy.

“Such approaches are invasive, expensive, technically challenging and depend on assisted reproductive technologies,” reports NIRRH cell biologist Deepa Bhartiya in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Research, the flagship journal of ICMR.

According to the report, there is now a way out. Bhartiya says research by her team over the years led to identification of a novel population of “Very Small Embryonic-Like stem cells (VSELs)”, in testis (in males) and ovaries (in females).

Being “quiescent” by nature, these primitive stem cells (VSELs) survive cancer therapy and therefore can offer young cancer survivors options to have children without having to bank their sperms or embryos prior to oncotherapy, says the report.

“The VSELs have remained elusive over decades due to their small size and presence in very few numbers,” says Bhartiya.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

The discovery of these unique VSELs (in testes and ovaries) that do not succumb to oncotherapy “opens up an alternative strategy to regenerate non-functional gonads and ovaries in cancer survivors”, says Bhartiya.

While VSELs survive cancer treatment, their original “habitat” (or niche) however gets destroyed by oncotherapy. To make the VSELs functional, their “niche” should be re-created by transplanting “mesenchymal cells” — another type of stem cells taken from the bone marrow — into the testes, says the report.

A simple and direct transplantation of “mesenchymal cells in the non-functional gonads may suffice to regenerate them,” says Bhartiya. “Similarly, transplantation of “ovarian surface epithelial cells” may allow the VSELs to regenerate nonfunctional ovaries.”

“This approach to fertility restoration is safe,” says Bhartiya pointing out to earlier studies carried out in her laboratory in mice which had shown that this method restored the role of non-functional ovaries and resulted in the birth of fertile offsprings.

“Our group also successfully restored spermatogenesis (sperm production) in non-functional mouse testis by transplanting niche (mesenchymal) cells, into the testis,” Bhartiya said.

Also Read- Micro-blogging Site Twitter to Bring ‘Hide Replies’ Feature in June

In the light of these findings, she says the field of oncofertility may undergo a sea-change and existing strategies of cryopreservation of gametes and gonadal tissue for fertility preservation in cancer patients will have to be revised. “Pilot clinical studies (in humans) need to be undertaken.”

“VSELs may be an alternative cell source for induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) clls,” Balu Manohar, managing director of Stempeutics Research, a Bengaluru-based stem cell company told this correspondent. “But it is still far away from the clinic as isolation and large scale expansion of these cells has to be standardised.” (IANS)