A flurry of recent news reports have drawn attention to some novel research emerging out of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) on the relationship between red meat and cancer risk. What caught reporters’ attention is a scientific paper, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which focuses on a possible mechanism by which “red meats” like beef, pork, and lamb may lead to increased cancer risk in some people.
Epidemiological research has long pinpointed red meat consumption as a risk factor for cancer, but clear biological mechanisms explaining this statistical association have been hard to come by. The new paper looks at a type of sugar molecule found in red meats that in humans can cause inflammation by over-activating the immune system, and provides evidence that this sugar can cause cancer in genetically engineered mice.
Among the team of researchers investigating this issue is Oliver M. Pearce, Ph.D., a CRI postdoctoral fellow, working in the lab of Ajit Varki, M.D., at UCSD. Not long ago, we spoke with Dr. Pearce (pictured left) about his research on inflammation and cancer, and what it may offer in the way of tips for eating more healthfully.
Read interview with Oliver M. Pearce, Ph.D.