Qatar, Europe, find genetic diabetes/cancer link

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Qatar Biomedical Research Institute
Qatar Biomedical Research Institute. Image courtesy: QBRI

Researchers from Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) and their European counterparts, have completed their research to discover a genetic marker in patients with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) are most likely to develop cancer.

Scientists from Imperial College, London and CNRS-Lille, France, also took part in the research. The research finds that patients suffering from T2D were four times more likely to suffer from certain kinds of cancer if they had the genetic marker. In particular, they were at a higher risk of blood cancers, including lymphoma and leukemia.

The study, which has recently been published in Nature Genetics, is expected to lead to genetic testing of patients with T2D to determine if they were at higher risk for developing cancer. Two previous studies, based on 110,000 participants, show that clonal mosaic events (CMEs) affect a large part of the chromosomes and could be helpful in predicting risk of cancer in the elderly. Medical studies also associate Type 2 diabetes with a greater risk of cancers.

Dr Abdul Ali Haoudi; “We are very excited about the finding. This discovery shows a link between diabetes and cancer, diseases that are especially prevalent in Qatar. As such it represents a major step forward in QBRI’s mission to translate novel scientific discoveries into efficient therapies and better preventative strategies for the two diseases that are the highest priorities for research in Qatar’s National Research Strategy.” — Dr. Abdul Ali Haoudi, Executive Director of QBRI

The research will be of great interest to medical institutions in Qatar as the country has a high prevalence of diabetes.

Latest figures from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) show that Qatar has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. The tiny Gulf state spends about 10 percent of its total health care budget on diabetes care. Around two-fifths of school children in Qatar are believed to be overweight and at risk of developing lifestyle induced diseases in later years. A report by Al Jazeera points out that the trend of type-2 diabetes is already on the rise among children.

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