Scientists in South Africa have found a link between a particular type of malaria resistance and the likelihood of cancer metastasis.
Metastasis is the spread of cancer cells to new areas of the body (often by way of the lymph system or bloodstream).
Geoffrey Siwo, a research scientist and his colleagues at IBM Research Africa, Johannesburg, in their bid to solve Africa’s future health issues, found the link between a malaria resistance and cancer among the African descent.
According to CNN, the team got drawn to the research due to the fast rising interaction between cancer and other diseases.
Data gathered during the course of research revealed that Africans have a particular gene that’s different from other world population.
The gene is medically known as Duffy Antigen Receptor (DARC).
Siwo told CNN that a mutation of this gene “makes most Africans less susceptible to a type of malaria caused by [the parasite] Plasmodium vivax”.
DARC encodes a protein that is used by parasites to get into human red blood cells. Most Africans are said to have a mutation of this gene that doesn’t allow it to be expressed in red blood cells.
Siwo said the gene might influence the outcomes of breast cancers.
“The true extent of cancer (within Africa) has not been realized because it is mostly diagnosed at the late stages.”
Siwo, along with his team, believe diseases such as cancer will start to impact Africa more than elsewhere if not properly tackled.
“We are looking at solving problems in Africa in a way we never thought possible before,” he said.