(Conquering Cancer in Obesity through Metabolism, Behaviour And Therapy) 

CHALLENGE: Obesity, physical activity and cancer

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Team COMBAT aims to explore obesity-related cancer risk and mechanisms to reduce this risk through the metabolic lens. 

Team Lead
Lydia Lynch (Harvard Medical School)
Canada, Ireland, US, UK

The idea

Team COMBAT hypothesises that metabolism is at the centre of the mechanisms driving obesity-related increased cancer risk and mechanisms that reduce that risk.   

This international, interdisciplinary team of world-leading experts in factors that influence obesity-driven cancers hopes to investigate metabolism across the scales of population, organism, tumour and cell.  

The team plans to interrogate metabolism in humans and mice by studying four cancers associated with obesity, including endometrial, colorectal, pancreatic and breast cancer. Its proposed approach will involve investigating how whole-body metabolic changes in obesity impact the local metabolism of tumour, immune and stromal cells in the tumour microenvironment; testing carefully designed diets in tumour models to understand the impacts of diet on cancer; and investigating the mechanisms for how obesity interventions act to reduce tumour growth. They will identify how obesity fuels cancer, and what are its metabolic weaknesses that can be targeted. 

The team hopes these studies will determine whether improving obesity-associated dysregulated metabolism, with or without a requirement for weight loss, would be beneficial to populations worldwide.   

“We are all incredibly excited for this amazing opportunity. We now realise that our shared goal to understand, and prevent, obesity-driven cancer could become a reality.”