People suffering from bowel cancer have an over-expressed protein, which is also linked to fat-burning ability.
Postdoctoral fellow Mercedes Davalos from Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute said the research team involved in bowel cancer made the discovery in the aftermath of analyzing mice without the protein in their intestine.
“This protein is over expressed in people with colon cancer and we wondered why — is it the cause of cancer or is there more of it because you have cancer?” she said.
The original study, in which Ms. Devalos worked together with researchers in Professor John Mariadason’s lab, examined mice that didn’t have the ability to produce the protein in their intestine, and realized that the mice were slimmer than their counterparts.
Additional investigation revealed that even when the two groups of mice were fed a high-fat diet, only the mice without the protein gained less weight.
Obesity is a risk factor for colon cancer, as a matter of fact, which led Ms. Davalos to say the discovery is likely to open new paths on the major health problems.
“It could help fight obesity and treat colon cancer.”
Bowel cancer, or colorectal cancer, is the second-most common cancer affecting Australians, with 14,000 new diagnoses every year.