Using mice models, DuBois identified a molecule called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPAR delta), which when removed blocked the key steps required for the initiation and progression of tumor growth.

"These results also provide a new rationale for developing therapeutics that could block PPAR delta to treat inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer," DuBois was reported as saying.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dietary components high in saturated fats such as red meat are thought to be risk factors for colon cancer.

Other known epidemiological risk factors are family history, inflammatory bowel disease, smoking and type-2 diabetes.

The study is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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