MIT study underlines link between DNA-damaging chemicals and cancer risk

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cancer, Dna damage

MIT study underlines link between DNA-damaging chemicals and cancer risk
There may be a link between DNA-damaging chemicals and inflammation that heightens the risk of cancer, details a new study by a group of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The team of scientists wanted to focus on building further evidence for a body of research that points to the fact that inflammatory diseases such as colitis lead to a higher risk of mutations that cause cancer.

In the first part of their study, the study details why people who suffer from inflammatory diseases have a higher risk of developing cancer, while in the second part of the experiment, the researchers focused on the effects of an alkalizing agent they say is found in cosmetics, as well as foods, chemotherapy drugs and environmental pollutants.

Tracking DNA mutations in pancreatic tissue

The first part of the experiment involved using a mouse to track DNA mutations, by assessing cell mutations in the pancreas of an animal with bouts of inflammatory. The scientists discovered that cell damage was much more significant when the bouts of inflammation occurred frequently, specifically several times a week or more.

The scientists note their belief that effect could be more pronounced in humans, who often have regular bouts of inflammation for prolonged periods of time, often years.

In the second part of the experiment, the scientists followed their assumption thatalkylation-induced mutations would accumulate at a much faster rate in inflamed tissue, compared to healthy tissue. Which they claim is what happened.

Inflammatory disease results in increased DNA damage

“These findings suggest that chronic inflammation potentially results in increased DNA damage and proliferation that together can conspire to increase the chance of cancer formation,”​ says Peter McKinnon, a professor of genetics and tumor cell biology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and a member of the research team.

In line with the findings, the researchers state in their report, published in MIT news online, “that people with chronic inflammatory diseases, which are common, may be more sensitive to carcinogens in the air, food and water.”

Additionally, the researchers also state their believe that fetuses and very young children could also be more sensitive to these agents because of the fact that their cells are dividing at a much more rapid rate than adults.

While this study was focused on the pancreas, the research team now says it will continue the study by focusing on the effects of these mutations on the colon and the lungs.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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