Navigation Links
Genetic Tweak Helps Mice Avoid Cancer, Obesity: Study
Date:3/6/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 6 (HealthDay News) -- New research offers potential insight into the connection between cancer, obesity and longevity in humans by showing that genetically modified mice live longer, skinnier and almost cancer-free lives.

There are quite a few differences between mice and humans, especially in regard to the type of fat that's apparently affected by the genetic tweak, so there's no way to know if the research could lead to benefits in humans. Even if medications based on the research are developed, no one knows what the side effects in people might be or their eventual cost.

Still, a potential drug "could have two benefits: adding some extra protection against cancer and protecting us from overeating," said Manuel Serrano, senior group leader at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center in Madrid and co-author of a study appearing in the March issue of Cell Metabolism.

At issue is a gene called Pten that boosts the body's cancer-fighting powers. Mutations in the gene can contribute to the development of cancer.

The researchers genetically engineered mice to have extra copies of the gene. The mice didn't suffer from side effects, Serrano said, and they managed to live 15 percent longer than other mice and suffer from less cancer.

He acknowledged, however, that figuring out a mouse's cause of death can be a challenge.

Mice that ate a high-fat diet also managed to be leaner, suggesting that the genetic tweak affected their ability to gain weight even when they would normally be packing on the extra ounces.

Serrano said the key seems to be the tweak's effect on something known as brown fat.

Both mice and humans have brown fat, but it's better understood in mice, he noted. In mice, it appears to burn regular "white fat" and be activated when it's cold or when the mice eat too much, Serrano said.

"Brown fat is very abundant and active in mice, but in humans it is scarce," Serrano explained. "At present, it is not known whether pushing the brown fat in humans will have a significant effect in fat burning."

Serrano said drugs are now in development that tinker with the gene in an effort to fight cancer.

Dr. Aaron Cypess, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School who studies obesity, said the research appears to be valid and useful.

"There's a connection being made between tumor-suppressing genes, which prevent cancers from growing, and energy expenditure -- consuming calories," he said. "We know that obesity can lead to cancer in humans. This makes the arrow go the other direction. What it's saying is that no cancer leads to no obesity."

There's a big caveat, however. "While the mouse is a very useful model to understand humans, there are a lot of differences between mice and men," Cypess said. "Practically speaking, just because something happens in a mouse model doesn't mean it's going to happen in a human. We are very different."

In a related study in the journal, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that blocking production of a marijuana-like compound in the brain boosted mice's metabolism of brown fat. These mice were able to eat more and move less than typical mice, without gaining weight or developing symptoms that can raise the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

More information

For more about obesity, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Manuel Serrano, Ph.D., senior group leader, Spanish National Cancer Research Center, Madrid, Spain; Aaron M. Cypess, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston; March 2012, Cell Metabolism


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers find possible genetic keys to surviving epithelial ovarian cancer
2. Genetic variants affect arsenic metabolism and toxicity in Bangladesh
3. Stealth properties of cancer-causing genetic mutations identified
4. ROCK off: Study establishes molecular link between genetic defect and heart malformation
5. Massachusetts General study defines a new genetic subtype of lung cancer
6. Researchers discover method to unravel malarias genetic secrets
7. Genetic variation increases risk of metabolic side effects in children on some antipsychotics
8. New Genetic Clues to Breast Cancer?
9. Gladstone scientists identify genetic mechanism linked to congenital heart disease
10. Newborn screening program aims to help transform treatments for genetic diseases detected at birth
11. A genetic accelerator hits the gas on autoimmune diseases
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Genetic Tweak Helps Mice Avoid Cancer, Obesity: Study
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... ... TherapySites, the leading website and online marketing ... Association. This new relationship allows TherapySites to continue to extend their online ... and promotional offers. , "TCA is extremely excited about this new partnership, as ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A revolution is underway. ... ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require these medical transport ... taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put forth an ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer ... they remain in the eye of the beholder, according to experts who offered insights ... American Journal of Managed Care. For the full issue, click here . , ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios ... X. , "Film editors can give their videos a whole new perspective by using ... - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a weight loss fitness plan ... fix the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, , ... They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise program ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the ... to 2022" report to their offering. ... patients with kidney failure, it replaces the function of kidneys ... blood and thus the treatment helps to keep the patient ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Market by Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), Inorganic ... Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast to 2021" report ... The global pharmaceutical excipients market is projected to ... of 6.1% in the forecast period 2016 to 2021. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, 2016 Roche ... received 510(k) clearance for its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) ... severe sepsis or septic shock. With this clearance, Roche ... provide a fully integrated solution for sepsis risk assessment ... associated with bacterial infection and PCT levels in blood ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: