"In this new study, we find that giving lunasin orally at 20 mg/kg of body weight reduced the number of metastatic tumors by 94 percent—we went from 18 tumors to only one. And that was done using lunasin alone; no other type of therapy was used," said Elvira de Mejia, a U of I professor of food chemistry and food toxicology.
In the first study, injections of lunasin were used in concert with the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin, yielding impressive results: a sixfold reduction in metastatic tumors to the liver.
"We learned in that study that lunasin can penetrate the cancer cell, cause cell death, and interact with at least one type of receptor in a cell that is ready to metastasize," said Vermont Dia, a postdoctoral associate in the de Mejia laboratory.
That led the scientists to do this study in which they experimented with oral doses of the peptide. "After all, soy is a food, and we wanted the animals to consume it as a food. Because this lunasin would be digested, we needed to figure out how much should be fed to achieve the desired concentration in the bloodstream," de Mejia said.
Using mice that had been injected with human colon cancer cells, the scientists began by feeding the animals 8 mg/kg of lunasin daily, which reduced the number of new tumors in the liver by 55 percent. They increased the dose five times, at last achieving a 94 percent reduction in tumors at 20 mg/kg of lunasin.
"We were very impressed by the reduction, but the results were short of statistical significance from the control group. More animals are needed to strengthen the power of the analysis. It's a small study but very promising," de Mejia said.
The scientists plan to repeat the study again using 30 mg/kg of lunasin as soon as they can obtain funding. "One tumor is still too many. We'd like to see no tumors," she said.
The scientists said that consuming the equivalent of 20 to 30 mg/kg of lunasin in soy foods would be daunting in terms of number of servings per day. "But it would certainly be possible if food companies began to offer lunasin-enriched soy milk or yogurt," she said, noting that lunasin-enriched flour is already on the market.
De Mejia said that chronic daily exposure to lunasin could make an even bigger difference in terms of cancer development and metastasis. "These animals were acutely exposed to the peptide for only 28 days, and we still achieved these results."
There is evidence that lunasin accumulates in the body tissues, most notably the livers, of animals that have experienced chronic exposure to this bioactive component of soy. "Consuming soy protein regularly in the diet could be important not only for nutrition but also for cancer prevention," she said.
The researchers also plan to begin a year-long study that would model lifetime exposure to lunasin in transgenic mice programmed to develop colon cancer in contrast to a group that did not receive any lunasin, she said.
Human studies are needed to validate the pre-clinical studies, de Mejia added.
Potential of lunasin orally administered in comparison to intraperitoneal injection to inhibit colon cancer metastasis in vivo is available online in the Journal of Cancer Therapy 2013, 4, 34-43, at http://www.scirp.org/journal/jct. The U of I's Vermont P. Dia and Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia co-authored the study. USDA funded the research.
Phyllis Picklesimer | EurekAlert!
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences