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Drinks and Breast Cancer – How It Happen

tumors of the mice that consumed alcohol. VEGF incidentally, is needed for the formation of new blood vessels.

This study could conclude that moderate alcohol consumption stimulates the growth and progression of breast cancer by fueling the development of new blood vessels, mandatory for cancer cell growth. Says Gu: “VEGF can promote the formation of new blood vessels. This suggests that alcohol can induce tumor angiogenesis."

In other words, the scientists suggest the difference in tumor weight is a result of jacked-up growth in blood vessels due to alcohol consumption. That’s because when a rodent, or a human, gulps down a drink, the cells in their bodies go into overdrive to get rid of the “toxins.” The stressed-out cells then send out the hormone VEGF that stimulates the growth of blood vessels.

According to Gu, this study is the first of its kind to use an animal model that accurately mimics breast cancer. Previous studies injected human breast-cancer cells into “nude” mice, or those lacking an immune system. Without a line of defense, the mice’s bodies would let the foreign cells grow and scientists could run experiments.

“In regular mice, if you implant a human tumor, it won’t grow because it’s foreign [so the immune system would stage an attack],” says study team member Emily Young. That also meant any results would apply only to an organism lacking an immune system.

Instead, “we used regular mice and we implanted the mouse breast-cancer form into it,” Young added.

There have also been many studies, which used toxic levels of alcohol, leading to results that were less applicable to humans who typically don’t consume that much booze. The researchers say their results, unlike the others, can be squarely translated to humans and have implications to both prevent and help treat breast cancer.

“Normal people produce cancer cells every day,” Gu says, “but at the beginning the cancer doe
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