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Ageing immune system linked to cancer

From BBC - February 6, 2018

The key to preventing age-related cancers may lie in the body's own immune system, new research suggests.

Scientists at the University of Dundee found an ageing immune system could be a stronger reason for developing cancer compared with genetic mutation.

They have developed a mathematical equation to show the link and its impact on cancer rates.

They said the discovery could have "major implications" for the fight against the disease.

The team, which also included researchers from Heriot Watt University, the University of Edinburgh and the Institut Curie in France, analysed data on two million cancer cases over the 18-70 age range.

'Early days'

They confirmed that men were statistically more likely than women to be diagnosed with cancer, although the chances of developing the disease across both groups rose dramatically with age.

Genetic predisposition, lifestyle and environmental factors also played a role in cancer diagnosis.

However, researchers noticed that their mathematical model fitted the data better than the multiple mutation hypothesis.

Thea Newman, professor of biophysics and systems biology at the University of Dundee, said: "This is still very early days but if we are proven right then you could be talking about a whole new way to treat and prevent cancer.

'Extremely relevant'

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