A new study from Japan has shown that a virus responsible for causing leukaemia can actually protect a person from developing stomach cancer.
Researchers from Narao Hospital in Nagasaki have found that human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV-1), responsible for causing blood cancer were protected against stomach cancer despite the presence of Helicobacter pylori bacteria that can cause disease.
During the study, lead researcher Satohiro Matsumoto compared 500 people in Kamigoto, Japan carrying HTLV-1 and 500 free of the virus.
He found that 7 per cent of those who were virus-free were thrice as likely to develop stomach cancer than those with the virus, reports New cientist.
The incidence of stomach cancer was 1.1% during the first 5 years of follow-up and 3.0% during the entire 10-year follow-up in the HTLV-1- group, compared with 2.7% and 8.0%, respectively, in the group that did not have virus.
The researchers report their findings in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.