It has long been thought that weight loss in cancer patients was due to cancer spreading throughout the body, but La Trobe University scientists have uncovered the cause: a muscle wasting disease.
The disease, cachexia, causes a significant loss in body weight in patients with advanced cancers. It is responsible for up to 30 per cent of all cancer deaths and severely restricts treatment options for those affected. The research opens a door for new drugs to potentially stop the disease, which could help the one third of cancer patients who currently die from cachexia.
La Trobe University Professor of Biochemistry Nick Hoogenraad said the discovery is a very significant development. Professor Hoogenraad said, “These findings, based on about a decade of research, could translate into huge benefits for those fighting serious illness and the potential for effective treatment is now much closer to reality.”