Deficiency in Ageing Related Protein Increases the Risk of Cancer in Women

The relationship between aging and incidences of cancer especially in women is long established by research studies. But, very little is known about the mechanism behind this relationship. Researchers from the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center have found that deficiency of a protein related to aging leads to the development of this tumor. The results of the study are published in the January 2011 issue of the journal Molecular Cell.

According to the experts, the conclusions of the present study can help in the screening, prevention and treatment of age-related cancers. The research was funded by the grants received from the Department of defense and the National Cancer Institute.

Knowledge Gained from the Research:
The protein in question is known as Sirtuins. It was discovered in the 1990s. It was found to provide protection from the damage caused to the cells owing to aging.

In humans, there are several types of this protein. As a part of the previous research, the experts created experimental mice lacking a type of this protein Sirt3 in the section of the cells, mitochondria, known as the powerhouse of these building blocks of life.

These mice were found to develop ER/PR positive breast tumors and possessed high levels of damaging free radicals and superoxide.

The researchers believed that excess levels of superoxide and the free radicals were responsible for the development of the breast tumor.

It is unclear how lack of a gene associated with longevity increased the levels of the undesirable reactive oxidative species (ROS), free radicals and the superoxide.

It is a well known fact that the superoxide is flushed out of the body by an enzyme known as manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD).

Mice lacking Sirt3 gene were found to have low levels of this enzyme thus raising the presence of ROS and increasing the possibility of tumor formation.

Experts have developed a technique by which the presence of this enzyme in the breast tissue samples of the suspected women can be detected. In this way, the research has opened up a novel treatment technique for reducing the risk and recurrence of breast cancer in women.

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