New research presented at the Physiological Society’s annual Physiology 2021 conference shows that molecules released into the bloodstream during exercise (like small proteins) can act directly on colon cancer cells to slow their growth.
Previous research has shown that regular physical activity lowers the risk of developing colon cancer. This is mainly suspected because physical activity can help individuals maintain a healthy weight.
This new research shows that even if physical activity does not result in weight loss, physical activity can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
These are preliminary results, but a better understanding of the mechanisms linking physical activity and cancer risk will help develop the most effective exercise programs for preventing cancer development.
It could also help develop medications that can mimic some of the benefits of exercise.
In addition, this research could ultimately lead to exercise becoming the standard of care in colorectal cancer screening programs, which could reduce the number of people developing cancer. ?
The study was conducted in 16 male participants who had lifestyle risk factors for colon cancer (all participants were 50 years of age or older, were overweight or obese, and did not exercise regularly).
The researchers collected blood samples from the participants before and after 45 minutes of indoor cycling at “moderate” intensity and before and after a “control experiment” without training.
They investigated whether exercise changes the concentration of certain proteins in the blood.
Finally, they added the liquid portion of each blood sample that contained the proteins (known as serum) to colon 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 grown in a dish under tightly controlled laboratory conditions. Cancer tumors in humans are more complex and interact with the surrounding environment, such as surrounding blood vessels and immune cells. This means that the results do not necessarily have to apply to cancer tumors in real life – this is what researchers will investigate in the future.
Dr. Sam Orange, the moderator and lead author of this study, said, “Following this study, we would like to understand a few more things, including the specific molecules in the blood that are responsible for reducing colon cancer cell growth and whether high-intensity exercise has any.” stronger effect on colon cancer cell growth than moderate-intensity exercise.
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