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Individuals who have chronic inflammation of their gums, arteries or any other tissue in their body may benefit from cancer testing, as new research has shown that a fatty substance that causes inflammation may also contribute to the growth of cancer cells.
Sarah Spiegel, who led the study, said that the findings are significant because doctors have long known that cancer is associated with inflammation. It was believed that cancer caused swelling. However, the new research suggests that a lipid known as sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) may be at the root of both conditions.
"It is difficult to find an area of physiology and pathophysiology in which S1P does not have important if not key roles," said Spiegel. "Appropriate to its name, which is associated with the enigma of the Sphinx, how S1P so profoundly regulates cell fate decisions has long remained a mystery."
However, she added that her new findings may lead to a greater understanding of this process by illustrating how the lipid signals cells to initiate actions that result in both cancer and inflammation.
She hopes that this will result in better, more accurate cancer tests and treatments.
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