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Fruit Fly Study May Help Improve Cancer Patients’ Survival

Oct, 2021

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A research revealed, chemicals generated by cancer tumors cut the lifespan of flies which is an important information that could help improve the survival of cancer patients.

Fruit fly research is already directing towards novel anti-cancer tactic differing from traditional target of killing the cancer cells or tumors. The new research by a team of scientists at University of California, Berkley, found that chemical secreted by cancer tumors shortens the lifespan of flies and attacking these chemicals could improve the survival rate of cancer patients.  Despite of the obvious differences between fruit flies and humans, by studying the commonalities associated with cancer tissues, survival of cancer patients could be improved.

The team discovered that the chemicals secreted by cancer tumors in fruit flies compromises the wall between the brain and the bloodsteam and allows the mixing of these two settings, which creates complications in many diseases that includes infection, trauma, and obesity. When studied in lab mice, the scientists found the same results. Due to the release of the same chemical, a cytokine known as interleukin-6 (IL-6) from cancer tumors, the barrier between the blood stream and the brain was compromised.  The scientists discovered that the chemicals released by cancer tumors stops the insulin from storing energy in the body causing the death of flies as it causes mass loss.

Furthermore, the scientists blocked the activity of IL-6 at the blood-brain barrier which expanded the lifespan of flies by 45%. The team was also able to expand the lifespan of mice with cancer by blocking the cytokine effect on the barrier of blood and brain. The team would keep studying IL-6, as blocking the protein eases the suffering which could enhance the lifespans of patients with cancer.

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