In a new study, researchers found that diets high in salt may help inhibit tumor growth.
They found that the effect may be due to a change in the function of certain immune cells which play a critical role in cancer immunity.
The research was conducted by an international research team led by VIB-UHasselt.
High salt intake is a known big risk factor for high blood pressure and heart disease.
Recent research has also shown that too much salt may impact autoimmunity.
For example, a high salt diet could change the immune cell balance towards a more aggressive state and worsen autoimmunity.
However, the changes in the immune cell balance, though detrimental in autoimmune conditions, may be useful in anti-cancer immune therapies to improve immune attacks against tumor cells.
In the current study, the team examined the impact of high salt intake on tumor growth in mice.
They found that a high salt diet reduced tumor growth in two experiments.
The research team further found that this effect seemed to be related to a change in the functions of certain immune cells.
These cells can hinder other immune cells to effectively attack and eliminate tumor cells.
The team says that the finding could have therapeutic potential.
However, since high salt intake may lead to gastric cancer in humans, the findings of this study and molecular mechanisms behind them have to be carefully analyzed in future studies.
The team believes the further exploration of this finding may help improve anti-cancer therapies.
The leader of the study is Professor Markus Kleinewietfeld.
The study is published in Frontiers in Immunology.
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