BUFI - IISc Seed Fund for Collaboration Project

A collaborative project between Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc) & Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), Boston, MA, USA

Diabetes is on the rise. As of 2014, more than 420 million adults worldwide were living with diabetes. India has turned into the diabetes capital of the world with an excess of 70 million diabetics. It is projected that it will cross 100 million by 2030. Simultaneously, there is a rise in breast cancer incidences in Indian women. There was a 9% increase in breast cancer incidence between the durations 2009-11 and 2012-14. It is well known that cancer is associated with metabolic re-programming. While in the western population the risk of type II diabetes and breast cancer increases with obesity, most of the Indian diabetic population are likely lean. Yet, the relationship of lean diabetics with breast cancer risk and disease progression remains unknown. Inflammation may be one of the key players in driving the whole body metabolic disorders.

The Research
In association with Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology (KMIO), Bengaluru, the group at IISc is collecting medical records, tumor tissue and blood of breast cancer patients. KMIO is a government aided medical institute which caters mostly to the people of low socio-economic class. The preliminary analysis from medical records by the group at IISc show that more than 15% of the breast cancer patients had diabetes of which more than 35% have lean/normal body mass index.
An analysis of plasma samples for cytokines was done in association with Prof. Gerald Denis' lab at Boston University. Analysis of plasma samples for cytokines can shed light on chronic inflammation. Similar analysis was conducted on breast cancer patient plasma samples from KMIO in IISc.
Preliminary results suggest that some of the pro-inflammatory cytokines are relatively higher in diabetic patients compared to non-diabetic patients. However, the analysis needs to be undertaken in a larger population and compared with non-cancer group to make a conclusion.