A high-fat diet may promote the growth of pancreatic cancer because of the interaction between dietary fat and cholecystokinin (CCK), a digestive hormone.
Dietary fat triggers the secretion of CCK by the small intestine and people whose diets are high in saturated fats often have high levels of CCK. This raises the risk of pancreatic cancer.
In a study, a group of mice was fed a high-fat diet, while another followed a normal diet. Half the mice were treated with proglumide, a medication that blocks CCK.
Some mice had tumours lacking CCK and some were deficient in CCK and had pancreatic tumours. Mice treated with proglumide had less tumour growth than the untreated mice, even when fed a high-fat diet.
The mice lacking CCK also did not respond to a high-fat diet. These results suggest that CCK is needed to stimulate the growth of pancreatic cancer.
Moreover, the high-fat diet-fed mice lacking CCK receptors did not show any tumour growth, suggesting that without receptors to bind to, increased CCK from dietary fat is unable to promote cancer.
Blocking CCK may also help prevent the spread of pancreatic tumours to other parts of the body.
Some hospital bacteria growing 'tolerant' to sanitisers
Some hospital superbugs are growing increasingly tolerant to alcohol-based disinfectants found in hand washes and sanitisers, allowing increasing infections to take hold, a study has warned.
Researchers have noticed a rise in Enterococcus faecium, a bacteria that lives in the gut and can be spread via catheters, ventilators or central lines in hospitals.
“Drug-resistant E. faecium infections have increased despite the use of alcohol disinfectants, and currently represent a leading cause of infections acquired in hospitals,” said the report in the journal ScienceTranslational Medicine, noting that Enterococci account for about one in 10 cases of hospital-acquired bacterial infections around the world.
Bacterial samples gathered from hospitals in Melbourne, Australia after 2009 are more tolerant to alcohol, meaning they can survive exposure to it longer.
Researchers aren’t sure why this particular type of bacteria is acting this way, but say it may be something about the physiology of E. faecium that makes it easier for the bacteria to evolve tolerance to alcohol exposure.
“Our findings do not signal the end of hand sanitisers, but indicate you cannot rely solely on alcohol-based disinfectants to control E. faecium in the hospital/health-care setting,” said study author Tim Stinear.