Health

From Bench to Bedside: Fighting Obesity and Cancer

As obesity and obesity-related cancers continue to rise, Carolina researchers aim to reverse the trend.

As obesity and obesity-related cancers continue to rise, Carolina researchers aim to reverse the trend.

In the United States, 40 percent of all cancer diagnoses have a correlation with obesity.

At the UNC Nutrition Research Institute, Stephen Hursting, Ph.D., M.P.H., and his team develop personalized strategies to prevent or reverse obesity. Their “bench-to-bedside” approach connects UNC NRI’s laboratory research with clinical research at the UNC School of Medicine and other sites across the country. Hursting’s lab work seeks to understand how obesity increases the risk of developing cancer — particularly breast, pancreatic and colon cancers — and worsens response to chemotherapy.

“This is an issue of increasing importance as the obesity epidemic in the United States and throughout the world is increasing the prevalence of obesity-related cancers, and obesity also makes cancers more deadly,” Hursting said. “We are working to identify mechanism-based interventions in our experimental models that can reverse the adverse effects of chronic obesity on cancer burden.”

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