A group of scientists from Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), Imperial College, London and CNRS-Lille, France, has identified a genetic marker that will help identify which patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are most likely to develop certain kinds of cancer.
The research team found that patients with T2D who have the genetic marker are four times more likely than non-diabetics to develop cancer, particularly blood cancers, including lymphoma and leukaemia. The study was published in Nature Genetics last week.
The research may lead to genetic testing of patients with T2D to determine if they are at higher risk for developing cancer.
Dr Abdul Ali Haoudi, Executive Director of QBRI said:“We are very excited about the finding. This discovery shows a link between diabetes and cancer, diseases that are especially prevalent in Qatar. As such it represents a major step forward in QBRI’s mission to translate novel scientific discoveries into efficient therapies and better preventative strategies for the two diseases that are the highest priorities for research in Qatar’s National Research Strategy.”
Two studies published last year in Nature Genetics and based on 110,000 participants, showed that clonal mosaic events (CMEs) affecting a large part of the chromosomes arise in blood DNA of the elderly and predict risk of cancer, in particular leukaemia. IT is found that the frequency of CMEs is very low in individuals younger than 50 years. But clonal mosaic events affect about two per cent of people older than 70.
Type 2 diabetes is an accelerating-ageing disease and is associated with higher prevalence of cancers, in particular blood cancers, including lymphoma and leukaemia.
The present study may have profound clinical implications. Given the medical interest in detecting precancerous states, especially in T2D where cancer mortality is higher, genetic testing for CMEs may be proposed, in particular in patients with T2D presenting with early-onset complications.
QBRI was established in 2012. It has a specific focus on developing translational biomedical research and biotechnology. The goal of QBRI was to tackle diseases of major worldwide importance and particularly prevalent in Qatar and the Middle East, such as diabetes and certain forms of cancer.
QBRI has set up eight research centres: Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research Centre, Genomic Medicine and Systems Biology Research Centre, Gene-based Therapy Research Centre, Biomedical Engineering Research Centre, Diabetes Research Centre, Cancer Research Centre, Genetic Diseases Research Centre, and the Qatar Biobank.
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