MADRID, 19 Jul. (EUROPA PRESS) –
New research presented at the Physiology Physiology 2021 Annual Conference has just shown that molecules released into the bloodstream during exercise, as small proteins, can act directly on bowel cancer cells to slow their growth.
Previous research has shown that regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing bowel cancer. This is believed to occur primarily because physical activity can help individuals maintain a healthy body weight.
This new research shows that being physically active can reduce the risk of bowel cancer, even if physical activity does not lead to weight loss.
These are preliminary results, but a better understanding of the mechanisms that link physical activity and cancer risk will help develop the most effective exercise programs to prevent cancer development.
It could also help develop drugs that can mimic some of the benefits of exercise. Additionally, this research could lead to exercise being part of standard care as part of bowel cancer screening programs, potentially reducing the number of people who develop cancer, the researchers note.
The study was conducted in 16 male participants who had risk factors for bowel cancer in their lifestyle (all participants were 50 years or older, were overweight or obese, and did not exercise regularly).
The researchers took blood samples from the participants before and after 45 minutes of “moderate” intensity indoor cycling, and before and after a “control” experiment without exercise. They tested whether exercise altered the concentration of specific proteins in the blood.
Finally, they added the liquid portion of each blood sample containing the proteins (known as serum) to bowel cancer cells in a laboratory and monitored the growth of the cancer cells for 48 hours.
The main limitation of this research is that the cancer cells were cultured on a plate under very controlled laboratory conditions. In humans, cancerous tumors are more complex and interact with the environment around them, such as blood vessels and immune cells. This means that the results are not necessarily applicable to real-life cancerous tumors, something the researchers will investigate in the future.
Dr. Sam Orange, presenter and lead author of this research, explains that with this research they seek to understand some other things, “such as what specific blood molecules are responsible for reducing the growth of bowel cancer cells, and if exercise performed at high intensity has a more pronounced effect on the growth of bowel cancer cells than exercise performed at moderate intensity. “