More than 60% of American adults are now overweight or obese, and the prevalence of obesity is increasing in both adults and children.
Obesity is often accompanied by life-threatening complications, including type II diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. These complications are referred to as the “metabolic syndrome”, and pose a major challenge to public health. Although these disorders cost billions of dollars in health care, we still have a poor understanding of the connections between obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Our scientists are working on understanding the complex network of signals that link dietary intake to the metabolic syndrome.
Obesity is a risk factor for the development of breast cancer, and disease prognosis is worsened if the patient is obese at the time of diagnosis. This is true for both young and middle-aged women, so it is important to understand how obesity affects breast tissue. Researchers at Torrey Pines Institute have begun to develop animal models to study the link between cancer cells and fat cells in the breast.
Principal Investigators are working on the following challenges in the area of Obesity and Related Complications:
- Identifying the network of events that occur in obesity that promote the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Understanding the link between obesity and increased risk for breast cancer. Fat cells secrete many molecules and factors that can influence the behavior of other cells, including breast cancer cells.