A new research has found that stress can speed up the growth and spread of cancer, as hormones released during stress, accelerates the growth of cancer. Norepinephrine, a hormone produced during periods of stress, can breakdown the tissues around the primary tumor, enabling cancer cells to move to the other parts of the body through the bloodstream, leading to metastasis (spread of cancer from its origin to other parts of the body). The research, which appears in the latest issue of the journal ‘Cancer Research’, has found that Norepinephrine can also induce tumor cells to release chemical compounds that can aid in the growth of new blood vessels, which could feed tumor cells with nutrients, helping in the growth and spread of cancer.  

Ronald Glaser, director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University, said that this research has opened a new way for looking at stress and its impact on cancer. He and Eric Yang, a young research scientist from the same institute, studied the role of the compounds produced by norepinephrine in breaking down the structure that holds the cells together and gives them a shape. This research was supported by the National Cancer Institute, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Gilbert and Kathryn Mitchell Endowment and OSU Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

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