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Aging is the biggest risk factor for cancer: The older we get, the more likely it is that a tumor becomes malignant — and lethal. But the biology behind this phenomenon is little understood.

A new study, published in Nature, describes a stunning new link between aging and the rapid proliferation of cancer, pinpointing a substance that our bodies naturally produce. The chemical, called methylmalonic acid, is a byproduct of protein and fat metabolism, and levels of this metabolite increase substantially as people age. The study found that high levels of methylmalonic acid, or MMA, boost a tumor’s malignancy — allowing cancer cells to breach new tissues, fight off chemotherapies, and survive.


“We believe we’ve found the first metabolite that influences metastatic progression,” said John Blenis, a cancer biologist at Weill Cornell Medicine who led the study.

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  • I’ve been quite skeptical of the massively popular Keto-diet trend (high protein/fat and very low carb). With this new data, knowing more comprehensive studies are required, I wonder if it suggests negative implications of Keto.

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