thymic decline

w95_cook at w95_cook at
Mon Oct 3 13:31:14 EST 1994

In a previous article, poczatek pete s <bubbie at> wrote:
>Does anyone know of any research being done to see if there is a link 
>between thymic decline and the incidence of tumors/cancer. I am doing a 
>research project concetrating on whether the increase in cancer rate 
>among the 'elderly' is due to thymic decline/degeneation, indicating that 
>lymphocytes (particularly T) playa regulatory role in controlling 
>cancer.  Any leads to past/continuing research or data would be greatly 

I'm not aware of any studies looking at this in particular.  However, work
with the nude mouse has shown that while these mice are indeed more
susceptible to certain tumors, such as lymphoreticular cancers, most
forms of cancer seem not to be affected by the lack of T cells.  Presumably
NK's and other less specific effector pathways are capable of compensating
for the lack of T cells.

I can't seem to recall who the authors were, but at the Keystone conference
in April, I know I saw one poster presentation looking at T cell repertoires
in individuals >80 yrs.  I believe they found only subtle differences in the
population of 80 y.o.'s compared to younger adults.  If I can find this
reference, I'll let you know.

Hope this helps!!

Jim Cook

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