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It is commonly thought that high blood sugar levels, as indicated by HbA1c testing, are the primary cause of many of the health complications faced by diabetics. However, new evidence suggests that this may not be the case, at least when it comes to cancer.
Diabetics are much more likely to develop many different varieties of cancer. However, for years doctors were not completely sure why. Many experts blamed the correlation on high blood sugar levels.
Now, a team of researchers from the Harvard Medical School has shown that mice on high-fat diets are much less likely to develop diabetes when they have higher levels of the proteins Lin28a and Lin28b. These same proteins have been shown to play a role in cancer risk.
"This highlights the overlap in the biology of these disorders," said lead researcher George Daley. "It may be the same kinds of metabolic shifts that allow cancer cells to grow are also related to [whole-body] glucose metabolism."
The findings could help medical professionals more accurately understand why individuals with type 2 diabetes are so much more likely to develop cancer.
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