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Experts in Sport: Anastrozole: What role can diet and exercise play in NHS drug treatment?

The NHS made global news headlines last week by approving the drug Anastrozole as a preventative medication among populations that are susceptible to developing breast cancer.

But questions remain as to how this new treatment can be combined with a healthy lifestyle to lower the risk of developing the disease. In the latest episode of the Experts in Sport podcast, Martin Foster talks to Dr Mhairi Morris to find out more.

In a wide-ranging discussion, the potential Anastrozole has in benefitting a large population of women at risk of developing breast cancer is touched upon alongside the effects of body composition and the immune system as prerequisites for the mutation of cells, leading to malignancy.

The benefits of varied exercise become evident throughout the episode, supporting medicinal interventions within cancer patients. Risk factors for developing breast cancer are also addressed, with hormones such as oestrogen contributing to cell mutation.

Dr Morris explains how Anastrozole blocks the enzyme aromatase to reduce oestrogen levels, including how its presence within the body can be a risk factor for mutations causing the disease.

As the second most common cancer in the world, Dr Morris explains how people diagnosed with breast cancer will benefit hugely from the introduction of medications such as Anastrozole, as well as saving the NHS around £15M in treatment costs, preventing trauma and deaths.

Dr Morris is a Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry from the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, and has been based at Loughborough since 2017. Previously, Dr Morris trained as tumour virologist, completing a PhD at the University of Birmingham.

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The Experts in Sport podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia with new episodes launched regularly.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/175

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2022 QS World University Rankings – the sixth year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.