Excessive salt intake has always been linked with increased inflammatory effects on the body. Studies have been conducted over the effects of salt on multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and autoimmune conditions.
How does the potential cure for cancer work?
However, it appears that high salt intake can be helpful for cancer patients, as this reduces the growth of tumors in them. Scientists have been studying the effect of immunotherapy in treating cancer, and high salt intake can lead to a boost in immunity.
The team studied the phenomena in two mouse models. They found that excessive salt can inhibit the function of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. The cells essentially prevent the immune system of the body from attacking tumors, and inhibiting them can result in decreased tumor growth.
The study found these effects both in mice as well as cell cultures of human cancer patients. It was determined that prevention of MDSCs could be extremely significant for immunotherapy against cancer cells.
They also found that in mouse models of melanoma transplantation, animals that have received salt in their diet showed significant inhibition of tumour growth compared to the control group of the animals.
More research needed for a sure shot cure for cancer
The study was published in Frontiers in Immunology. It read,
“Delayed tumour outgrowth was evident as early as day 11 post-injection leading to significant differences in tumour size between both groups at day 13 [post-injection] and at the day of sacrifice.”
The team then tried to replicate the results in a mouse model of lung cancer and received similar results. “The findings are highly interesting, and we were surprised to see such an effect on tumour growth just by increasing the salt in the diet,” said Prof. Markus Kleinewietfeld, the leader of the research team.
However, the researchers have also said that they need to conduct future studies to find out the mechanism of action of the phenomena at the molecular level. He also said that they need more time to find out the potential of a high salt diet in anticancer treatment regimens.