“Hormone leptin affects cancer growth”: Researchers
An interesting study on effects of enriched environment on cancer growth has revealed that right amount of social stimulation might help check cancer growth.
Dr. Matthew J. During, professor of neuroscience, of neurological surgery and molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics is the leader for this research. Cancer survivors are generally asked to avoid stress but Dr. During suggests that data from his studies show that it is only a myth that stress has ill effects on cancer growth.
A study conducted by researchers from United States and New Zealand showed how mice injected with melanoma cells are affected by enriched environment. They were surprised to find that there was a certain reduction in growth of cancer. During and his colleagues has started this studies in 2005. At this time he was suffering from skin cancer, his mother ailing with ovarian cancer and his close friend had died of melanoma.
Research showed that, ‘enriched’ mice had higher levels of stress hormones and much lower levels of hormone leptin. Hormone leptin is known to control the appetite and was also known to increase cancer growth. The environment was found to activate a nervous system-pathway called the hypothalamic-sympathoneural-adipocyte (HSA). This pathway was the cause for reduced levels of leptin in the bloodstream.
Further research showed that expression of a gene encoding the signaling protein BDNF increased substantially in mice living in enriched conditions. This suggested that BDNF, too, was a critical regulator of HAS (protective pathway). Several precautions were taken to make sure that cancer protection was not only due to the increased activity of the rodents. Tests conducted on mice raised in a complex environment providing opportunities to learn and have increased physical activities showed that tumors in these mice were 80 percent smaller than mice raised in standard housing.
New gene-therapy vectors are being developed to deliver BDNF to treat disease and studies continue on how accurate leptin hormone is for cancer protection.
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