Cancer Therapeutics Propels Expression of a Gene Associated with Aging in Young Patients, Study Suggests

Nov, 2020 - By SMI

Cancer Therapeutics Propels Expression of a Gene Associated with Aging in Young Patients, Study Suggests

A new study by the researchers of University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center) highlights about the consequence of cancer treatment on the aging process. Researchers observed that gene expression (gene associated with aging) is high in younger patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment and also in young cancer survivors who are weak.

Past researches have exhibited that protein p16INK4a that decelerates cell division, is generated at higher pace as a person ages. Moreover, by utilizing the expression of the gene that codes for p16INK4a as a indicator of age, researchers inspected immune cells circulating in the blood of young survivors of cancers with children and adolescents with recently diagnosed cancer.

In this research study researchers studied cells from 60 young cancer survivors and compared them with 29 age-matched cells of individuals without past history of cancer. Researchers observed that gene expression coding for p16INK4a was high in survivors, in comparison to control. Researchers also observed that children and adolescents recently diagnosed with cancer exhibited high gene expression after chemotherapy.

Dr. Smitherman, stated, “Higher expression of p16INK4a in peripheral blood lymphocytes has been described in older adults following chemotherapy, but prior to this study, not in young adult survivors," said. "This study is important as we try to understand the biological mechanisms underlying the manifestations of early aging in this population.”

Researchers also noted that increasing p16INK4a expression as an indicator of aging can further aid in identifying cancer survivors at the risk for developing functional disability and frailty and can also be beneficial as a measure to study treatments intended at alleviating the early aging effects of cancer therapy.

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