Why red meat causes cancer revealed

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Washington: A new study has examined that Neu5Gc, a non-human sugar

found in red meat, promotes inflammation and cancer progression in


The study conducted at the University of California, San Diego School

of Medicine found that feeding Neu5Gc to mice engineered to be

deficient in the sugar (like humans) significantly promoted

spontaneous cancers. The study did not involve exposure to carcinogens

or artificially inducing cancers, further implicating Neu5Gc as a key

link between red meat consumption and cancer.

Principal investigator Ajit Varki, MD, Distinguished Professor of

Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, said that until now, all

of their evidence linking Neu5Gc to cancer was circumstantial or

indirectly predicted from somewhat artificial experimental setups and

this is the first time we have directly shown that mimicking the exact

situation in humans feeding non-human Neu5Gc and inducing anti-Neu5Gc

antibodies increases spontaneous cancers in mice.

The researchers had previously discovered that animal Neu5Gc can be

absorbed into human tissues. In this study, they hypothesized that

eating red meat could lead to inflammation if the body's immune system

is constantly generating antibodies against consumed animal Neu5Gc, a

foreign molecule. Chronic inflammation is known to promote tumor


Varki added that the final proof in humans will be much harder to come

by but on a more general note, this work may also help explain

potential connections of red meat consumption to other diseases

exacerbated by chronic inflammation, such as atherosclerosis and type

2 diabetes.

The study is published in the online early edition of the Proceedings

of the National Academy of Sciences.

Credit: ANI

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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