Physical, social stimulation may starve tumours
Mice with cancer living in enriched environments had smaller tumours, new research has revealed.
Although normally housed in groups of five, scientists studied mice with cancer in social groups of up to 20. These large groups had an enriched environment with more space, toys and running wheels.
Over six weeks, researchers found that the mice stopped releasing the tumour-feeding hormone leptin – resulting in smaller tumours or cancer remission. The team believe this is due to increased social activity and competitiveness. They observed dominance displays in the mice and more scurrying around, leading to the conclusion that it is not exercise alone that can reduce tumours.
At the end of the study, tumours had shrunk by about three quarters and one in six of the mice had no visible tumours. The results reinforce the idea that an active and challenging lifestyle can be beneficial in maintaining good health.