Israeli Study Finds Link Between Heart Disease and Cancer

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Israeli researchers have discovered a direct biological pathway linking heart disease to an increased risk of cancer.

The joint study between Tel Aviv University and the Sheba Medical Center found that the connection lies in the secretion of extracellular bubbles from the heart following a heart attack. These bubbles, called extracellular vesicles (sEVs), are intended to aid in the healing process of cardiac tissue but inadvertently promote the growth of cancer cells throughout the body.

“We showed for the first time that the diseased heart secretes bubbles that contain thousands of different growth factors. These bubbles do not encourage the growth of any tumor, but they certainly affect the immune system and may cause any tumor in the body to benefit from them,” lead researcher Professor Yonatan Lior told TPS.

Researchers tested their hypothesis on animal models and found that inhibiting the formation of extracellular bubbles reduced cancer risk. By delivering spironolactone, a well-known heart failure medication, the researchers were able to reduce the secretion of extracellular bubbles from the heart, resulting in a significant slowing in the growth of cancerous cells.

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