London: Your fondness for red meat might increase your chances of developing bowel cancer due to large amounts of iron in it.
The new discovery could open the way to new treatments to mop up iron in the bowels of those who develop cells hit by the defective gene called APC.
Mice fed low iron diet remained cancer free even if the gene was defective, but when it functioned normally, high iron levels did no harm.
However, mice with the defective gene given high iron intake were two to three times more likely to develop the disease, the Daily Mail reports.
Owen Sansom, deputy director of the Cancer Research UK Institute, Glasgow, who led the study, said: “We’ve made a huge step in understanding how bowel cancer develops. The APC gene is faulty in around eight out of 10 bowel cancers but until now we haven’t known how this causes the disease.”
“It’s clear that iron is playing a critical role in controlling the development of bowel cancer in people with a faulty APC gene. And, intriguingly, our study shows that even very high levels of iron in the diet don’t cause cancer by itself, but rely on the APC gene,” said Sansom.