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Intestinal Cancer Can Be Cured In Obese People, Study

Update Date: Jan 21, 2016 10:26 AM EST

Those who are obese rather than lean have a 50 percent greater chance of developing intestinal cancer, according to research by experts at Thomas Jefferson University, Duke Medical School and Harvard Medical School.

It was found that obese people have intestinal cancer caused by switching off a hormone named guanylin. Experts say that such cancer in obese people could be treated by replacing guanylin with hormone replacement therapy.

The study was published in the medical journal Cancer Research. Scientists used genetically modified mice to probe the issue. In order to replicate a virtual situation just like a human body's, they first fed additional calories to make the mice obese.

The impact of the additional calories on the guanylin in the epithelium was observed. Scientists said that the hormone switched off as it had during the cancers of the intestines in obese people.

This made the epithelium lose its ability to balance and regenerate cells, hence failing its function. Cancer was developed as the body lost its mechanism to fight cancer.

Researchers replaced the lost guanylin in the same mice with a fresh dose of the hormone. They observed that the function of the hormone and epithelium got restored.

The data from the study can help obese people to fight intestinal cancer.

Dr. Scott Waldman, the chair of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Thomas Jefferson University's Sidney Kimmel Medical College, said: "The beauty of our findings is that while we know the hormone is lost in the obese mice, its receptors are just sitting there waiting to be switched on. And this study demonstrates that if you can prevent hormone loss, you can also prevent tumor development," according to a press release.

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