In a new study, researchers found that diabetes may increase the risk of metastatic cancer.
Their finding provides a possible explanation for this health double whammy.
The research was conducted by a team from Cornell University.
Previous research has shown that diabetes and cancer are two of the worst health problems in western countries.
Now the new study shows that there’s a link between the two diseases.
The team found that microenvironment plays a big role in the spread of cancer.
According to the researchers, in the spread of cancer, the malfunctioning cells need to travel through a slurry of minerals, carbohydrates, water, and connective tissue to get into the bloodstream.
And through the bloodstream, the cancer cells travel to a different part of the body.
That slurry is a complex and dynamic environment. The main component is collagen, which is a protein that supports cell structural integrity.
Collagen fibers are composed of nanometer-sized strands, called fibrils. These fibrils combine to form fibers of varying length and thickness.
In people with diabetes, the elevated blood sugar levels influence the architecture of collagen fibers. This can promote cancer cell movements throughout the body.
In the study, the team used breast cancer cells to test how different levels of glycation concentrations could influence cancer cell movements.
They also used software to track the trajectory of the cells as they moved through the three-dimensional space.
They found that the cancer cells moved farther and faster in highly glycated environments than in non-glycated ones.
The researchers suggest that people with diabetes need to control their blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of spread of cancer.
They hope the new finding could provide valuable information for treating cancer in people with diabetes.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility.
The lead author of the study is Young Joon Suh, a graduate student in biological engineering.
The study is published in Investigative Biology.
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