COVID-19 Made worse By Social Distancing?

We are led to question whether the recommended social distancing measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission could increase the number of other serious instabilities. The breaking of the contagion pathways reduces the sharing of microorganisms between people, thus favoring dysbiosis, which, in turn, may increase the poor prognosis of the disease. #covid #microbiome #dysbiosis Célia P. F. Domingues, João S. Rebelo, Francisco Dionisio, Ana Botelho, Teresa Nogueira. The Social Distancing Imposed To Contain COVID-19 Can Affect Our Microbiome: a Double-Edged Sword in Human Health. mSphere, 2020; 5 (5) DOI: 10.1128/mSphere.00716-20 https://msphere.asm.org/content/5/5/e00716-20

Daily Aspirin and younger women a bad mix


Daily Aspirin and younger women a bad mix
– ” they conclude that blanket treatment “is ineffective or harmful in the majority of women with regard to the combined risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and major gastrointestinal bleeding.”
– Cons of regular low-dose aspirin to stave off serious illness in women outweigh pros published online in the journal Heart Dec 2014. Continue reading “Daily Aspirin and younger women a bad mix”

As colorectal cancer gets more aggressive, treatment with grape seed extract is even more effective

By Garth Sundem in In the Lab · January 16, 2013 ·

Derry

Molly Derry, PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Cancer Center

When the going gets tough, grape seed extract gets going: A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Cancer Letters shows that the more advanced are colorectal cancer cells, the more GSE inhibits their growth and survival. On the other end of the disease spectrum, GSE leaves healthy cells alone entirely.

“We’ve known for quite a while that the bioactive compounds in grape seed extract selectively target many types of cancer cells. This study shows that many of the same mutations that allow colorectal cancer cells to metastasize and survive traditional therapies make them especially sensitive to treatment with GSE,” says Molly Derry, doctoral candidate in the lab of Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Derry notes this is an especially important finding in light of increasing colorectal cancer rates (due in part to increasingly high-fat diets and sedentary lifestyles) and a low screening rate; that means 60 percent of patients diagnosed have already reached the advanced stage of the disease.

“Finding a way to selectively target advanced colorectal cancer cells could have major clinical importance,” Derry says.

The group performed their experiments on colorectal cancer cell lines representing various stages of the disease. Whereas it generally takes much more chemotherapy to kill a stage IV cancer cell than a stage II cancer cell, Derry saw that the reverse was true with grape seed extract.

“It required less than half the concentration of GSE to suppress cell growth and kill 50 percent of stage IV cells than it did to achieve similar results in the stage II cells,” Derry says.

The group also discovered a likely mechanism of GSE’s preferential targeting of advanced colorectal cancer cells: when cancer cells were treated with antioxidants the GSE induced cell death was reversed and so Derry and colleagues consider it likely that GSE targets colorectal cancer through inducing oxidative stress that leads to the programmed cell death known as apoptosis.

“A colorectal cancer cell can have upwards of 11,000 genetic mutations – differences from the DNA in healthy cells. Traditional chemotherapies may only target a specific mutation and as cancer progresses more mutations occur. These changes can result in cancer that is resistance to chemotherapy. In contrast, the many bioactive compounds of GSE are able to target multiple mutations. The more mutations a cancer presents, the more effective GSE is in targeting them,” Derry says.

The Agarwal Lab continues its preclinical work studying the effectiveness and action of dietary compounds against cancer and encourages further exploration of their findings in clinical settings.

Study supported in part by NIH R01 AT003623 and NCI R01 CA112304

About the author: Garth Sundem

In addition to writing for the University of Colorado Cancer Center, Garth is the author of the books The Geeks’ Guide to World Domination, Brain Candy, and Geek Logik. Contact him at garth.sundem [at] ucdenver.edu.

Could mistletoe give the kiss of death to cancer?

Contact: Gordon Howarth gordon.howarth@adelaide.edu.au 61-883-137-885 University of Adelaide

      IMAGE:   Health Sciences student Zahra Lotfollahi with a sample of mistletoe extract at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus.Click here for more information.

 

Mistletoe has become an important symbol of Christmas but it also has the potential to play a vital role as an alternative therapy for sufferers of colon cancer.

At the University of Adelaide in Australia, scientists are interested in how the extract of mistletoe could either assist chemotherapy or act as an alternative to chemotherapy as a treatment for colon cancer.

Colon cancer is the second greatest cause of cancer death in the Western world.  Mistletoe extract is already authorized for use by sufferers of colon cancer in Europe, but not in some countries such as Australia and the United States due to a lack of scientific testing.

For her Honours research project recently completed at the University of Adelaide, Health Sciences student Zahra Lotfollahi compared the effectiveness of three different types of mistletoe extract and chemotherapy on colon cancer cells.  She also compared the impact of mistletoe extract and chemotherapy on healthy intestinal cells.

In her laboratory studies, she found that one of the mistletoe extracts – from a species known as Fraxini (which grows on ash trees) – was highly effective against colon cancer cells in cell culture and was gentler on healthy intestinal cells compared with chemotherapy.

Significantly, Fraxini extract was found to be more potent against cancer cells than the chemotherapy drug.

“This is an important result because we know that chemotherapy is effective at killing healthy cells as well as cancer cells.  This can result in severe side effects for the patient, such as oral mucositis (ulcers in the mouth) and hair loss,” Ms Lotfollahi says.

      IMAGE:   A sample of the mistletoe extract Fraxini, which has shown the most promise in early laboratory tests at the University of Adelaide.Click here for more information.

 

“Our laboratory studies have shown Fraxini mistletoe extract by itself to be highly effective at reducing the viability of colon cancer cells.  At certain concentrations, Fraxini also increased the potency of chemotherapy against the cancer cells.

“Of the three extracts tested, and compared with chemotherapy, Fraxini was the only one that showed a reduced impact on healthy intestinal cells.  This might mean that Fraxini is a potential candidate for increased toxicity against cancer, while also reducing potential side effects.  However, more laboratory testing is needed to further validate this work,” Ms Lotfollahi says.

“Mistletoe extract has been considered a viable alternative therapy overseas for many years, but it’s important for us to understand the science behind it,” says one of Ms Lotfollahi’s supervisors, the University of Adelaide’s Professor Gordon Howarth, a Cancer Council Senior Research Fellow.

“Although mistletoe grown on the ash tree was the most effective of the three extracts tested, there is a possibility that mistletoe grown on other, as yet untested, trees or plants could be even more effective.

“This is just the first important step in what we hope will lead to further research, and eventually clinical trials, of mistletoe extract in Australia,” Professor Howarth says.

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Zahra Lotfollahi Health Sciences Honours student School of Medical Sciences The University of Adelaide zahra.lotfollahi@student.adelaide.edu.au

Professor Gordon Howarth Cancer Council Senior Research Fellow School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences The University of Adelaide Phone: +61 8 8313 7885 gordon.howarth@adelaide.edu.au

Mango effective in preventing, stopping certain colon, breast cancer cells

2010 study posted for filing

 

Contact: Kathleen Phillips ka-phillips@tamu.edu 979-845-2872 Texas A&M AgriLife Communications

COLLEGE STATION – Mango. If you know little about this fruit, understand this: It’s been found to prevent or stop certain colon and breast cancer cells in the lab.

That’s according to a new study by Texas AgriLife Research food scientists, who examined the five varieties most common in the U.S.: Kent, Francine, Ataulfo, Tommy/Atkins and Haden.

Though the mango is an ancient fruit heavily consumed in many parts of the world, little has been known about its health aspects. The National Mango Board commissioned a variety of studies with several U.S. researchers to help determine its nutritional value.

“If you look at what people currently perceive as a superfood, people think of high antioxidant capacity, and mango is not quite there,” said Dr. Susanne Talcott, who with her husband, Dr. Steve Talcott, conducted the study on cancer cells. “In comparison with antioxidants in blueberry, acai and pomegranate, it’s not even close.”

But the team checked mango against cancer cells anyway, and found it prevented or stopped cancer growth in certain breast and colon cell lines, Susanne Talcott noted.

“It has about four to five times less antioxidant capacity than an average wine grape, and it still holds up fairly well in anticancer activity. If you look at it from the physiological and nutritional standpoint, taking everything together, it would be a high-ranking super food,” she said. “It would be good to include mangoes as part of the regular diet.”

The Talcotts tested mango polyphenol extracts in vitro on colon, breast, lung, leukemia and prostate cancers. Polyphenols are natural substances in plants and are associated with a variety of compounds known to promote good health.

Mango showed some impact on lung, leukemia and prostate cancers but was most effective on the most common breast and colon cancers.

“What we found is that not all cell lines are sensitive to the same extent to an anticancer agent,” she said. “But the breast and colon cancer lines underwent apotosis, or programmed cell death. Additionally, we found that when we tested normal colon cells side by side with the colon cancer cells, that the mango polyphenolics did not harm the normal cells.”

The duo did further tests on the colon cancer lines because a mango contains both small molecules that are readily absorbed and larger molecules that would not be absorbed and thus remain present in a colon.

“We found the normal cells weren’t killed, so mango is not expected to be damaging in the body,” she said. “That is a general observation for any natural agent, that they target cancer cells and leave the healthy cells alone, in reasonable concentrations at least.”

The Talcotts evaluated polyphenolics, and more specifically gallotannins as being the class of bioactive compounds (responsible for preventing or stopping cancer cells). Tannins are polyphenols that are often bitter or drying and found in such common foods as grape seed, wine and tea.

The study found that the cell cycle, which is the division cells go through, was interrupted. This is crucial information, Suzanne Talcott said, because it indicates a possible mechanism for how the cancer cells are prevented or stopped.

“For cells that may be on the verge of mutating or being damaged, mango polyphenolics prevent this kind of damage,” she said.

The Talcotts hope to do a small clinical trial with individuals who have increased inflamation in their intestines with a higher risk for cancer.

“From there, if there is any proven efficacy, then we would do a larger trial to see if there is any clinical relevance,” she said.

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According to the National Mango Board, based in Winter Park, Fla., most mangoes consumed in the U.S. are produced in Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala and Haiti. Mangoes are native to southeast Asia and India and are produced in tropical climates. They were introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800s, and a few commercial acres still exist in California and Florida.

Antioxidant compound reduced incidence of colorectal metachronous adenomas ( selenium )

Contact: Tara Yates tara.yates@aacr.org 267-646-0558 American Association for Cancer Research

HOUSTON – Supplementation with a selenium-based antioxidant compound decreased the risk of developing new polyps of the large bowel — called colorectal metachronous adenomas — in people who previously had colorectal polyps removed.

“Our study is the first intervention trial specifically designed to evaluate the efficacy of the selenium-based antioxidant compound on the risk of developing metachronous adenomas,” said Luigina Bonelli, M.D., head of the unit of secondary prevention and screening at the National Institute for Cancer Research, in Genoa, Italy.

Bonelli presented these findings at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, held in Houston, Dec. 6-9, 2009.

Adenomatous polyps (or adenoma) are benign lesions of the large bowel that, in time, could progress to cancer. Even though only a small proportion of adenomas will develop into cancer, almost 70 percent to 80 percent of colorectal cancer stems from an adenoma.

Adenomas are common in people aged 60 years or older; one in four people will have at least one adenoma.

Participants in this study were aged 25 to 75 years and had already had one or more colorectal adenomas removed, but did not have any other diagnosis of colorectal diseases, cancer or life-threatening illnesses and did not use vitamins or calcium supplementations. The researchers randomized 411 participants to the placebo group or to receive an antioxidant compound — specifically selenomethionnine 200 μg, zinc 30 mg, vitamin A 6,000 IU, vitamin C 180 mg and vitamin E 30 mg.

“Our results indicated that individuals who consumed antioxidants had a 40 percent reduction in the incidence of metachronous adenomas of the large bowel,” Bonelli said. “It is noteworthy that the benefit observed after the conclusion of the trial persisted through 13 years of follow up.”

The researchers are currently conducting a study to evaluate the role of genetic alterations as predictors of metachronous adenomas in participants received the antioxidant compound compared with those in a placebo group.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 30,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and nearly 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowship and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 16,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

Hopkins Children’s study: Folic acid may help treat allergies, asthma

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Ekaterina Pesheva
epeshev1@jhmi.edu
410-516-4996
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Folic acid, or vitamin B9, essential for red blood cell health and long known to reduce the risk of spinal birth defects, may also suppress allergic reactions and lessen the severity of allergy and asthma symptoms, according to new research from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

In what is believed to be the first study in humans examining the link between blood levels of folate – the naturally occurring form of folic acid — and allergies, the Hopkins scientists say results add to mounting evidence that folate can help regulate inflammation. Recent studies, including research from Hopkins, have found a link between folate levels and inflammation-mediated diseases, including heart disease. A report on the Hopkins Children’s findings appears online ahead of print in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

Cautioning that it’s far too soon to recommend folic acid supplements to prevent or treat people with asthma and allergies, the researchers emphasize that more research needs to be done to confirm their results, and to establish safe doses and risks.

Reviewing the medical records of more than 8,000 people ages 2 to 85 the investigators tracked the effect of folate levels on respiratory and allergic symptoms and on levels of IgE antibodies, immune system markers that rise in response to an allergen. People with higher blood levels of folate had fewer IgE antibodies, fewer reported allergies, less wheezing and lower likelihood of asthma, researchers report.

“Our findings are a clear indication that folic acid may indeed help regulate immune response to allergens, and may reduce allergy and asthma symptoms,” says lead investigator Elizabeth Matsui, M.D. M.H.S., pediatric allergist at Hopkins Children’s. “But we still need to figure out the exact mechanism behind it, and to do so we need studies that follow people receiving treatment with folic acid, before we even consider supplementation with folic acid to treat or prevent allergies and asthma.”

The current recommendation for daily dietary intake of folic acid is 400 micrograms for healthy men and non-pregnant women. Many cereals and grain products are already fortified with folate, and folate is found naturally in green, leafy vegetables, beans and nuts.

Other findings of the study:

  • People with the lowest folate levels (below 8 nanograms per milliliter) had 40 percent higher risk of wheezing than people with the highest folate levels (above 18 ng/ml).
  • People with the lowest folate levels had a 30 percent higher risk than those with the highest folate levels of having elevated IgE antibodies, markers of allergy predisposition.
  • Those with the lowest folate levels had 31 percent higher risk of atopy (allergic symptoms) than people with the highest folate levels.
  • Those with lowest folate levels had 16 percent higher risk of having asthma than people with the highest folate levels.

 

Blacks and Hispanics had lower blood folate levels — 12 and 12.5 nanograms per milliliter, respectively — than whites (15 ng/ml), but the differences were not due to income and socio-economic status.

The Hopkins team is planning a study comparing the effects of folic acid and placebo in people with allergies and asthma.

 

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Asthma affects more than 7 percent of adults and children in the United States, and is the most common chronic condition among children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Environmental allergies are estimated to affect 25 million Americans, according to the CDC.

Co-investigator on the study: William Matsui, M.D, of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Licorice extract blocks colorectal cancer in mice

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Karen Honey
press_releases@the-jci.org
215-573-1850
Journal of Clinical Investigation

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, and drugs that selectively target a protein known as COX-2 prevent the development of intestinal polyps, the precursors of colorectal cancer. However, these drugs have severe side effects that preclude their routine use in the prevention of colorectal cancer. But now, a team of researchers, at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, has found that inhibiting an enzyme known as 11-beta-HSD2 (both genetically and using an extract from licorice) blocks COX-2 activity in human and mouse colorectal tumor cells, inhibiting their growth and metastasis in experimental models of colorectal cancer. Importantly, long-term inhibition of 11-beta-HSD2 did not have side effects on the heart and blood vessels of mice, as long-term treatment with selective COX-2 inhibitors does. The authors therefore suggest that inhibiting 11-beta-HSD2 might provide a new approach to preventing colorectal cancer.

In an accompanying commentary, Paul Stewart and Stephen Prescott, highlight the importance of these data for the development of a potential new therapeutic option in colorectal cancer.

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TITLE: Inhibition of 11-beta–hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type II selectively blocks the tumor COX-2 pathway and suppresses colon carcinogenesis in mice and humans

AUTHOR CONTACT:
Ming-Zhi Zhang
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
Phone: (615) 343-1548; Fax: (615) 343-2675; E-mail: ming-zhi.zhang@vanderbilt.edu.

Raymond C. Harris
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
Phone: (615) 322-2150; Fax: (615) 343-2675; E-mail: ray.harris@vanderbilt.edu.

View the PDF of this article at: https://www.the-jci.org/article.php?id=37398

ACCOMPANYING COMMENTARY
TITLE: Can licorice lick colon cancer?

AUTHOR CONTACT:
Paul M. Stewart
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Phone: 44-121-415-8708; Fax: 44-121-415-8712; Email: p.m.stewart@bham.ac.uk.

Stephen M. Prescott
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.
Phone: (405) 271-7210; Fax: (405) 227-5809; Email: steve-prescott@omrf.org.

View the PDF of this article at: https://www.the-jci.org/article.php?id=38936

May supplementation of docosahexaenoic acid suppress colon tumor cell growth?

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Lin Tian
wjg@wjgnet.com
0086-105-908-0039
World Journal of Gastroenterology

Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Western countries. The role of n-3 and n-6 PUFAs in colorectal carcinoma cell growth has not been well studied. It is known that PGE2, generated from AA, is an important factor in the tumorigenesis of colorectal cancer. However, previous in vitro observations have led to uncertainty regarding a differential role of n-3 and n-6 PUFA for growth of tumor cells, as some findings are contradictory, and most studies have not addressed the effect of a changed n-3/n-6 PUFA ratio on cell proliferation.

A research article to be published on March 7, 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team around Piet Habbel and Karsten H. Weylandt from the Charité University Hospital in Berlin (Germany) and led by Jing X. Kang from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (USA) used the LS-174T colon cancer cell line, for which several previous studies have shown an important role of PGE2 as growth promoting agent. The study showed differential effects of n-6 PUFA AA and n-3 PUFA DHA. While proliferation was promoted by AA, incubation with DHA reduced cell growth and viability. In addition, this study demonstrated that the n-3 PUFA DHA can directly suppress AA- as well as PGE2-induced colon cancer cell growth.

These results add evidence to the argument that the ratio of n-6/n-3 PUFA (and in particular the ratio of AA versus DHA) may be a critical determinant of proliferation and tumor growth in the colon, and that DHA supplementation can suppress tumor cell growth, even in the presence of high AA- and PGE2 levels. These results suggest that supplementation of DHA may be a powerful tool to counteract AA- and PGE2-promoted colon cancer cell growth that is associated with the predominant Western diet.

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Reference: Habbel P, Weylandt KH, Lichopoj K, Nowak J, Purschke M, Wang JD, He CW, Baumgart DC, Kang JX. Docosahexaenoic acid suppresses arachidonic acid-induced proliferation of LS-174T human colon carcinoma cells. World J Gastroenterol 2009; 15(9): 1079-1084

http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/15/1079.asp

Correspondence to: Karsten H Weylandt, MD, PhD, Dr. Kang’s Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital, 149-13th Street, Room 4433, Charlestown, MA 02129,United States. karsten.weylandt@gmx.de

Telephone: +1-617-7268509 Fax: +1-617-7266144

Calcium may only protect against colorectal cancer in presence of magnesium

2008 study posted for filing

 

Contact: Jeremy Moore
Jeremy.moore@aacr.org
267-646-0557
American Association for Cancer Research

High magnesium intake has been associated with low risk of colorectal cancer. Americans have similar average magnesium intake as East Asian populations. If that were all that were involved, observers might expect both groups to have similar risk for colorectal cancer.

However, the United States has seen a much higher colorectal cancer incidence rate than East Asian populations. Furthermore, when East Asians immigrated to the United States, their incidence rates for colorectal cancer increased. This led researchers at Vanderbilt University to suspect there was something else at work.

Calcium supplementation has been shown to inhibit colorectal carcinogenesis although high calcium may simultaneously be preventing the body from absorbing magnesium. United States patients have a higher calcium intake and higher colorectal cancer incidence. “If calcium levels were involved alone, you’d expect the opposite direction. There may be something about these two factors combined – the ratio of one to the other – that might be at play”, said Qi Dai, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University.

Dai and colleagues examined this hypothesis in a large clinical trial and found indeed that supplementation of calcium only reduced the risk of adenoma recurrence if the ratio of calcium to magnesium was low and remained low during treatment. “The risk of colorectal cancer adenoma recurrence was reduced by 32 percent among those with baseline calcium to magnesium ratio below the median in comparison to no reduction for those above the median,” said Qi.

The implications for prevention of adenoma recurrence or reduced risk of primary colorectal cancer is that designing a personalized diet/supplementation regimen that takes the ratio of both nutrients into account may be better than supplementing with one or the other alone.

About one in eighteen individuals will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime and 40 percent will die within five years of diagnosis, mainly due to diagnosis at a late stage. The understanding of how dietary factors affect colorectal cancer may lead to the prevention of cancer recurrence and possibly prevention of the initial cancer.

 

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 28,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and 80 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes five major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The AACR’s most recent publication and its sixth major journal, Cancer Prevention Research, is dedicated exclusively to cancer prevention, from preclinical research to clinical trials. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

A compound extracted from olives inhibits cancer cells growth and prevents their appearance

Contact: José Antonio Lupiáñez Cara jlcara@ugr.es 34-958-240-069 University of Granada

A research group of the University of Granadahas found out that maslinic acid, a compound present in the leaf and the olive skin wax extracted from alpeorujo (crushed olive pulp), has the capacity of preventing cancer as well as regulating apoptosis in carcinogenic processes.

Maslinic acid is a protease inhibitor that, among other features, has the capacity of regulating cell growth. It is useful for cancer treatment, as it allows to control the hyperplasia and hypertrophy processes, typical of this disease. The scientists of the UGRhave characterized for the first time maslinic acid action from the molecular point of view when it is applied to the development of tumour cells.

This work has been carried out by Ph D student Fernando Jesús Reyes Zurita, and directed by Professor José Antonio Lupiáñez Cara, of the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I. According to them, the advantages of maslinic acid are three: Unlike other anti-carcinogenic products, highly cytotoxic, it is a natural compound and, therefore, less toxic. In addition, it is selective, this is, it only acts on carcinogenic cells, whose pH is more acid than usual. And lastly, it has a preventive nature, as it can inhibit cancer appearance in those cells with a higher predisposition to develop it.

For all types of cancer

Although the research group of Professor Lupiáñez Cara has analysed the effect of maslinic acid in the treatment of colon cancer, it can be used in different types of tumours. For the moment, their research works have been developed in colon carcinoma lines and transgenic mice, but they have not dismissed the possibility of applying them to humans in future.

Maslinic acid is a pentacyclic terpene which, besides being anti-carcinogenic, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and can be found in high concentrations in olive skin wax. At present, the only production plant of this substance at a semi-industrial level in the whole world is at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Granada.

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(You can view a video about this release here)

Reposted at Request