LONDON.- An investigation conducted by Trinity College in Dublin, Dublin, has uncovered new links between obesity and cancer, which explains why the body's immune system can not fight cancer cells when there is excess fat.
The study, published in Nature Immunology, analyzes the reasons why the presence of fat prevents immune surveillance systems that are made up of NK cells (Natural Killer in English), a type of natural killer cell whose function is to destroy cancer cells.
In addition, scientists have described perhaps a new treatment that helps NK cells to reprogram molecularly to get back into action.
The importance of this new study, led by an associate professor of immunology at Trinity College Lydia Lynch, is based on the knowledge that provides the influence of obesity on the immunological effect of NK cells.
Lynch's team, working with human cells that detect cancer and implant them in mice, has confirmed that excess fat does not prevent these cells from recognizing their tumor homologs but preventing them from killing.
In later research, they have been able to reprogram NK cells and restore their effectiveness in the fight against cancer.
Researchers have noted that over 1,900 million adults worldwide are overweight and over one third of adults are obese, which means a large number of adverse health effects.
Overweight people are more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and a wide range of infections, except that up to 50% of certain cancers are attributed to this pathology.
Lynch said that although public awareness of the risks of obesity is increasing, society continues to dominate.
"It is more urgent to understand the way obesity causes cancer and leads to further illnesses and therefore to develop new strategies that would prevent it from progressing," the expert said.