Cancer causes premature ageing

Published by  News Archive

On 31st Jan 2019

Leukaemia promotes premature ageing in healthy bone marrow cells – according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Findings published today in the journal Blood show that healthy bone marrow cells were prematurely aged by cancer cells around them.

It is well known that ageing promotes cancer development. But this is the first time that the reverse has been shown to be true.

Importantly, the aged bone marrow cells accelerated the growth and development of the leukaemia – creating a vicious cycle that fuels the disease.

The research was led by Dr Stuart Rushworth from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, in collaboration with the Earlham Institute and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (UK) and the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California. It was funded by the Rosetrees Trust and Norfolk’s Big C Charity.

The study also identified the mechanism by which this process of premature ageing occurs in the bone marrow of leukaemia patients and highlights the potential impact this could have on future treatments.

Dr Rushworth said: “Our results provide evidence that cancer causes ageing. We have clearly shown that the cancer cell itself drives the ageing process in the neighbouring non-cancer cells.

“Our research reveals that leukaemia uses this biological phenomenon to its advantage to accelerate the disease.”

NOX2, an enzyme usually involved in the body’s response to infection, was shown to be present in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells – and this was found to be responsible for creating the ageing conditions.

The research team established that the NOX2 enzyme generates superoxide which drives the ageing process.

By inhibiting NOX2, researchers showed the reduction in aged neighbouring non-malignant cells resulted in slower cancer growth.

Dr Rushworth said: “It was not previously known that leukaemia induces ageing of the local non cancer environment. We hope that this biological function can be exploited in future, paving the way for new drugs.”

‘Acute myeloid leukemia induces pro-tumoral p16INK4a driven senescence in the bone marrow microenvironment’ is published on the cover of Blood (the official journal of the American Society of Hematology) on January 31, 2019.

Study Medicine at UEA

More world-leading research

 

Latest News

  News
22 Sep 2021

New research reveals credit rating agencies responded too slowly to Covid-19

Sluggish response of credit rating agencies in assessing sovereign creditworthiness during the pandemic may have led to mispriced sovereign debt.

Read more >
  News
Robots in front of Productivity East building
22 Sep 2021

Productivity East launch

A new centre for skills, productivity and Engineering for the region launches this month

Read more >
  News
Children and adults at ribbon cutting at IntoUniversity and UEA education centre opening event
17 Sep 2021

Thousands of local young people set to benefit as new education centre officially opens its doors

A new education centre was officially opened in West Earlham, one which is set to benefit thousands of young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in...

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
  News
Children and adults at ribbon cutting at IntoUniversity and UEA education centre opening event
17 Sep 2021

Thousands of local young people set to benefit as new education centre officially opens its doors

A new education centre was officially opened in West Earlham, one which is set to benefit thousands of young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in...

Read more >
  News
DNA
16 Sep 2021

Times Higher Education table puts UEA in the world’s top 100 for Life Sciences

The University of East Anglia (UEA) has maintained its place as a world top 100 university for Life Sciences degrees in the 2022 Times Higher Education (THE)...

Read more >
  News
16 Sep 2021

Vattenfall partnership to unlock benefits of offshore wind to the region

The University of East Anglia (UEA) and Vattenfall have announced a partnership that will place the East of England at the forefront of the offshore wind...

Read more >
  News
16 Sep 2021

How climate change could impact algae in the global ocean

Global warming is likely to cause abrupt changes to important algal communities because of shifting biodiversity ‘break point’ boundaries in the oceans –...

Read more >
  News
15 Sep 2021

UEA breakthrough could protect against breast cancer progression

Leading scientists have identified a possible link between antibiotic use and the speed of breast cancer growth in mice, and identified a type of immune cell...

Read more >
  News
15 Sep 2021

Ambitious research to study fundamental earth and environmental science questions

The University of East Anglia is leading one of five innovative new research projects that could push the boundaries of science and help us understand key...

Read more >