Called main cause of cancer

Called main cause of cancer

Scientists at the University of Dundee in Scotland found that the cause of cancer is aging immune system. The results of a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, will help to develop new methods of prevention and treatment of cancer.

The likelihood of malignant tumors increases dramatically with age. This is because over time, DNA accumulates defects that can lead to the degeneration of cells. Considered for the development of cancer, you need five or six mutations.

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The researchers analyzed two million cases of cancer among people aged 18 to 70 years. Then scientists derived an equation allowing to calculate, as a decrease in the activity of the immune system affects the ability of the formation of tumors and compared the theoretical predictions with the actual data, including 100 types of malignant tumors. It turned out that the new model better predicts risk of cancer than the hypothesis that the accumulation of mutations.

The main reason for the aging of the immune system is dysfunction of the thymus (thymus gland), the organ in which the maturation of T cells. With increasing age of the person at every 16 years the thymus is reduced in size, which leads to a drop in the production of lymphocytes that recognize tumor cells and destroy them. Stimulation of the activity of the thymus gland, according to scientists, would be an effective way for cancer prevention.