Aging males lose Y chromosomes, new cancer risk

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Every human cell has a pair of chromosomes that give your body a blueprint for how to grow and develop starting as a single cell inside a uterus.

But in a new study from the Cedars-Sinai cancer center, scientists have found that not only do chromosomes provide the building blocks of human life, they may also play an integral role in fighting disease.

Dan Theodorescu, director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer and corresponding author of the study, and a team of leading researchers from across the country published their findings in Nature on June 21.

The cells of those born male contain an X chromosome and a Y chromosome that make a pair and give instructions on which genes should be expressed in the body, the researchers said.

As males age, they begin to lose some of their Y chromosomes due to rapid cell turnover, the study said.

“This study for the first time makes a connection that has never been made before between loss of the Y chromosome and the immune system’s response to cancer,” Theodorescu said in a June 21 release. “We discovered that loss of the Y chromosome allows bladder cancer cells to elude the immune system and grow very aggressively.”


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!