The group of researchers developed a mathematical equation to show the link between aging and its impact on the incidence of cancer.
The response to prevent age-related cancers may be in the body’s own immune system and not directly related to the genetic mutation, according to research findings published by the University of Dundee (Scotland).
Scientists have found that the fact that a person’s immune system is aging may be a more important factor for cancer to develop than the genetic mutation.
The group of researchers, including members of the universities of Edinburgh and the Curie Institute of France, developed a mathematical equation to show the link between aging and its impact on the incidence of cancer.
The study was conducted by analyzing data on two million cases of cancer in the 18 to 70 age group.
It was shown that, generally, the immune system is wearing faster in men than in women, allowing them to demonstrate the differences of gender in the incidence of the disease.
This was related to the thymus gland, which produces T cells – or T-lymphocytes – whose function is to adapt or destroy foreign agents in the body.
The gland tended to decline faster in men than in women, but the possibility of developing the disease in both groups increases dramatically with age.
In addition, the scientists pointed out that genetic predisposition, lifestyle and environmental factors play a key role in the diagnosis of cancer.
Dundee University professor Thea Newman said it was “too early,” but if it is proven that the study is headed in the right direction, a completely new way of treating and preventing cancer will have been found.
“We are not discussing the fact that mutations cause cancer, but we wonder if mutations alone can explain the rapid increase in cancer incidence with age when aging causes further changes in the body,” Thea said.
Professor Clare Blackburn of the University of Edinburgh said the finding was ” extremely relevant ” and said it demonstrates “the need to take the immune system even more seriously in cancer research.”