Leukaemia promotes premature ageing in healthy bone marrow cells

Research funded by the Rosetrees Trust and Norfolk’s Big C Charity has shown that leukaemic cancer cells drive the aging process in healthy bone marrow cells that surround them. 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 (UK). The prematurely aged bone marrow cells accelerate the growth and development of the cancer cells creating a feedback loop that drive the progression of leukaemia.

Dr Rushworth said: “Our results provide evidence that cancer causes ageing. We have clearly shown that the cancer cell itself drives the ageing process in the neighbouring non-cancer cells and that leukaemia uses this biological phenomenon to its advantage to accelerate the disease.” Importantly Dr. Rusworth’s team were able to confirm that an enzyme called NOX2 drives the aging process, paving the way for new potential therapies. The study was published in Blood and featured on the front cover.