A type of cell the body uses to destroy cancer gets clogged by fat and stops working, findings suggest.
A new discovery could explain why obese people are more likely to develop cancer, scientists say.
A type of cell the body uses to destroy cancerous tissue gets clogged by fat and stops working, the team, from Trinity College Dublin, found.
Obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK after smoking, Cancer Research UK says.
And more than one in 20 cancer cases – about 22,800 cases each year in the UK – are caused by excess body weight.
Experts already suspected fat sent signals to the body that could both damage cells, leading to cancer, and increase the number of them.
Now, the Trinity scientists have been able to show, in Nature Immunology journal, how the body’s cancer-fighting cells get clogged by fat.
And they hope to be able to find drug treatments that could restore these “natural killer” cells’ fighting abilities.
‘Lose some weight’
Prof Lydia Lynch said: “A compound that can block the fat uptake by natural killer cells might help.
|Read on: Fat-clogged cells explain why obesity can cause cancer|