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Cancer and inflammation

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. Researchers at the University of Leicester and the St. George's Hospital Medical School have reached the conclusion that most, if not all, cancers owe their initiation and progression to a chronic inflammation. They point out that bladder cancer is associated with schistosomiasis (a parasite infection), stomach cancer with a Helicobacter pylori infection, liver cancer with hepatitis-B or hepatitis-C infection, colon cancer with chronic inflammatory bowel disease, etc. They believe the constant activation of the immune system leads to increased angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels), which is an essential requirement for tumour growth. They also suggest that exposure to a cancer-causing virus is not going to cause cancer unless the host suffers from chronic inflammation and immune system activation.

The researchers conclude that it may be possible to prevent and even reverse many cancers by increasing the ratio of T-1 to T-2 helper cells and by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and COX-2 inhibitors.
O'Byrne, K.J. and Dalgleish, A.G. Chronic immune activation and inflammation as the cause of malignancy. British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 85, No. 4, August 17, 2001, pp. 473-83 [160 references]

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