Wednesday December 19, 2018

Study Shows that Humans Are Influencing Cancer in Wild Animals

Besides indulging in cancer causing behaviour like smoking, poor diet and low hygiene, human beings are also changing the environment in such a way that it can lead to the deadly disease in many species of wild animals, researchers have warned.

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To study how obesity affects this defense mechanism, the team bred mice that were designed to express a known cancer-inducing mutant protein called Ras.
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Besides indulging in cancer-causing behaviour like smoking, poor diet and low hygiene, human beings are also changing the environment in such a way that it can lead to the deadly disease in many species of wild animals, researchers have warned.

“Cancer has been found in all species where scientists have looked for it and human activities are known to strongly influence cancer rate in humans,” said Mathieu Giraudeau, postdoctoral student at the Arizona State University in the US.

“So, this human impact on wild environments might strongly influence the prevalence of cancer in wild populations with additional consequences on ecosystem functioning,” he added.

The study, published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, pointed out many pathways including chemical and physical pollution in our oceans and waterways, accidental release of radiation into the atmosphere from nuclear plants, and the accumulation of microplastics in both land- and water-based environments, that show where human activities are already taking a toll on animals.

In addition, exposure to pesticides and herbicides on farmlands, artificial light pollution, loss of genetic diversity and animals eating human food are also known to cause health problems.

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

“We know that some viruses can cause cancer in humans by changing the environment that they live in — in their case, human cells — to make it more suitable for themselves,” explained Tuul Sepp, postdoctoral student at the varsity.

“Basically, we are doing the same thing. We are changing the environment to be more suitable for ourselves, while these changes are having a negative impact on many species on many different levels, including the probability of developing cancer,” Sepp added.

Even something such as artificial light and light pollution, as well as food meant for humans, are negatively affecting wild animals

Also Read: Lifestyle Habits That Affect Breast Cancer Risk

Ruling that “cancer in wild populations is a completely ignored topic”, the researchers have urgently called for studies on cancer and its causes in wild animal populations.

“We want to highlight the fact that our species can strongly influence the prevalence of cancer in many other species of our planet,” Giraudeau said. (IANS)

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New Drug to Give Hopes to Bone Marrow Cancer Patients

It reduced the risk of progression or death by more than 50 per cent in both groups

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A therapeutic drug has been found to improve outcomes and survival rates for patients with a serious type of bone marrow cancer.

In a clinical trial by researchers at Newcastle University in Britain, patients with newly diagnosed myeloma were treated with a drug called lenalidomide.

The results, published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, showed an improvement for those who received lenalidomide drug, compared to those not receiving it.

“This is a major breakthrough as it shows that the long-term use of lenalidomide significantly improves the time myeloma patients stay in remission after initial therapy,” said Professor Graham Jackson from the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle.

Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells and it can affect several areas of the body, such as the spine, skull, pelvis and ribs. Current treatment usually involves chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant.

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New drug offers hope for bone marrow cancer patients. Pixabay

“It is a huge step and, importantly, identifies that for younger patients lenalidomide improves their overall survival for this difficult-to-treat bone marrow cancer,” Jackson said.

“Our research highlights that lenalidomide should be considered for newly diagnosed patients following stem-cell transplantation,” he added.

As part of the study, a total of 1,137 newly diagnosed patients were randomly assigned to lenalidomide maintenance therapy and 834 patients to observation – this was after they completed their initial treatment.

Also Read- Narendra Modi Accuses Congress of Aiding Those Who Want to Weaken Army

The results show that lenalidomide can prolong the average remission time by more than two years in younger patients and by well over a year in older, less fit patients.

It reduced the risk of progression or death by more than 50 per cent in both groups. (IANS)