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Fat clogs up cancer-fighting immune cells, study finds

/ 06:14 PM November 14, 2018

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A recently published study found that immune cells “clogged” by fat in obese individuals fail to fight off tumors in cancer patients.

Published in the journal Nature Immunology on Nov. 12, the study focused on the concept of higher cancer risk for overweight or obese people, as reported by Technology Networks.

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According to the researchers’ findings, Natural Killer (NK) cells in “obese environments” experienced “metabolic paralysis,” which stopped them from performing their duties to fight cancer.

NK cells are responsible for fighting off cancer cells and limiting the spread of tumors in the body. To accomplish their function, NK cells require more energy than normal cells to fight off tumors. Metabolic paralysis is when the NK cells cannot muster up the necessary energy to target and attack tumors, which would allow it to spread unchecked in the body. The study simulated an obese environment by applying fatty acids that effectively inhibited the NK cells’ energy production.

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However, the study suggested that NK cells could be somehow reprogrammed to operate better in an obese environment to fight off cancer.

This process may take a while to finalize and make commercially available to cancer patients. For the time being, the study at the very least added to the notion that staying active and exercising regularly can help lower the risk of cancer. Alfred Bayle /ra

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TAGS: cancer fighting cells, immune cells, Natural Killer cells, NK cells, obese
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