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Cancer causes bones to age faster, study finds

Dr Stuart Rushworth with his team from the UEA. Picture: UEA

Dr Stuart Rushworth with his team from the UEA. Picture: UEA

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Cancer has been shown to cause premature ageing in bones, a new study suggests.

Cancer cells observed by the team. Picture: UEACancer cells observed by the team. Picture: UEA

Leukaemia has been shown to cause accelerated ageing in bone marrow cells according to a study by the University of East Anglia.

Findings show healthy bone marrow cells were prematurely aged by cancer cells around them.

It is known that ageing promotes cancer development. But this is the first time that the reverse has been shown.

The aged bone marrow cells accelerated the growth and development of the leukaemia creating a cycle that fuels the disease.

The research was led by Dr Stuart Rushworth from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, in collaboration with the Earlham Institute and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California. It was funded by the Rosetrees Trust and Norfolk’s Big C Charity.

Dr Rushworth said: “We have clearly shown that the cancer cell drives the ageing process in the neighbouring non-cancer cells.”

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