These 3 hallmarks of aging work together to prevent cancer

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Aging is a complex biological process that is associated with various changes in our body, including the shortening of telomeres, which are the end caps of our chromosomes.

Telomeres play a crucial role in preventing the formation of cancer cells. When telomeres become very short, they trigger a complex set of signaling pathways that initiates an inflammatory response.

This response destroys cells that could otherwise become cancerous.

Scientists at the Salk Institute have recently discovered that telomeres communicate with mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouses when they become very short.

This communication triggers a set of signaling pathways that activate the immune system, leading to the destruction of cells that could become cancerous.

The study’s findings could lead to new ways of preventing and treating cancer and designing better interventions to offset the harmful consequences of aging.

The team examined telomere biology and how telomeres prevent cancer formation, and the role mitochondria play in human disease, aging, and the immune system.

The scientists found that when telomeres become extremely short, a process called “crisis” occurs, and cells die.

This process removes cells with very short telomeres and unstable genomes, which is known to be a powerful barrier against cancer formation.

In this study, the team wanted to know how autophagy-dependent cell-death programs are activated during a crisis.

They discovered that RNA molecules from short telomeres activate immune sensors called ZBP1 and MAVS on the outer surface of mitochondria.

The findings demonstrate important links between telomeres, mitochondria, and inflammation and underscore how cells can bypass crisis and become cancerous when the pathways are not functioning properly.

The scientists plan to further examine the molecular basis of these pathways and explore the therapeutic potential of targeting these pathways to prevent or treat cancer.

Overall, the study sheds new light on the complex pathways linking telomeres, mitochondria, and inflammation, and highlights the need to study interactions between these hallmarks to fully understand aging and perhaps intervene to increase health span in humans.

How to prevent cancer

Cancer is a complex disease, and there is no surefire way to prevent it entirely. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing cancer. Here are some tips:

Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Aim to maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

Avoid tobacco: Smoking is a leading cause of cancer. If you smoke, try to quit. If you don’t smoke, avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.

Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help reduce your risk of cancer. Try to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit your intake of processed and red meats, sugary foods, and alcohol.

Protect your skin: Exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can increase your risk of skin cancer. Protect your skin by wearing protective clothing, using sunscreen, and avoiding tanning beds.

Get vaccinated: Certain viruses, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B, can increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Get vaccinated against these viruses if recommended by your healthcare provider.

Stay active: Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of cancer. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

Get regular screenings: Regular screenings can help detect cancer early when it is most treatable. Talk to your healthcare provider about what screenings are recommended for you based on your age, gender, and other risk factors.

If you care about cancer, please read studies about dry shampoo and cancer risk, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduces cancer death.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about how drinking milk affects the risks of heart disease and cancer and results showing higher intake of dairy foods linked to higher prostate cancer risk.

The study was conducted by Salk Professors Jan Karlseder et al and published in Nature.

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