• Kyodo News

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A type of fat hormone secreted from healthy fat cells has a strong cancer-fighting function, a team of researchers from the University of Tokyo said Wednesday.

The findings from the animal-based experiments, led by Joji Kitayama, a researcher at the university’s Surgical Oncology Department, shows a strong link between the health condition of fat cells and progression of cancer.

It has been known that fat cells of obese people, including those suffering from the metabolic syndrome, do not secrete the adiponectin fat hormone very well.

Metabolic syndrome refers to conditions that raise the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, such as high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol and insulin resistance.

Kitayama’s team plans to present the findings at a meeting of the Japanese Cancer Association opening in Yokohama on Thursday.

For the study, the team focused on the fact that the density of adiponectin decreased among gastric cancer patients as their cancer progressed.

The researchers found that the hormone induces a cell death as powerful as an anticancer drug once it attaches itself to the surface of cancer cells of the stomach, large intestine and breast in humans.

The team also injected the same amount of adiponectin as the one found in healthy people into human stomach cancer tissues that were transplanted into the mice. They found that cancer cell propagation was suppressed to about one-tenth that of the mice that did not receive such an injection.

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