The discovery of proteins that initiate the muscle wasting caused by tumors could lead to new treatments for this hard-to-treat and often fatal condition called cancer-induced cachexia or cancer cachexia, report scientists with the McGovern Medical School in a proof-of-concept study in the journal Nature Communications.
Cancer cachexia is a wasting syndrome that causes weight loss and inflammation and can reduce the effectiveness of cancer drugs while in turn increasing their harmfulness. Approximately half of all cancer patients will develop this condition, and about half of the patients with cachexia will die of it before their cancer treatment has a chance to kill the cancer.
The National Cancer Institute issued a “Provocative Question” to the scientific community several years ago: “What mechanisms initiate or sustain cancer cachexia, and can we target them to extend lifespan and quality of life for cancer patients?”
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