Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Location: Caribbean (kar-uh-bee-uhn) of Canada
|Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:05 am Post subject: Andeans have a big cancer-fighting secret
|Andeans have a big cancer-fighting secret
February 16, 2011 - 'A Hormone that gives a small population in the Ecuadorian Andes their short stature may reveal secrets of thwarting cancer and diabetes.
Jaime Guevara-Aguirre at the Institute of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Reproduction in Quito, Ecuador, and Valter Longo at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles studied a group of 99 people in the region for 22 years. These people all have a diminutive stature because they have Laron syndrome - an inability to make functional copies of the human growth hormone receptor.
Remarkably, none of the individuals developed diabetes, and only one developed cancer (which was cured). By comparison, among 1600 relatives without the condition 5 per cent developed diabetes and 17 per cent developed cancer, suggesting that blocking the effects of the hormone might somehow protect against these diseases.
The researchers found that levels of insulin in people with Laron syndrome were just one-quarter of normal, primarily because their cells were ultra-sensitive to it, so less was needed. This tallies with their lack of diabetes. Remarkably, they all remained diabetes-free even though most of them were obese, normally a prelude to adult-onset diabetes.
To better understand the anti-cancer phenomenon, the researchers exposed normal human breast cells to extracts of blood serum from people with Laron syndrome or their syndrome-free relatives. Compared with breast cells exposed to blood serum from relatives, those doused in serum from individuals with Laron syndrome had 30 per cent higher levels of enzymes that are protective against cell damage, and much lower levels of activity in genes known to promote tumour growth.'
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