Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Flaxseed-fed chickens shed light on ovarian cancer

05.05.2010
In the race to find answers about ovarian cancer, researchers now have something to cluck about. For five years, University of Illinois researchers have been using the chicken as a model to study this deadly disease and have recently discovered that a diet enriched with flaxseed decreases severity of ovarian cancer and increases survival in hens.

Flaxseed is the richest plant source of alpha-linolenic acid, one type of omega-3 fatty acid. Several studies have already shown that flaxseed inhibits the formation of colon, breast, skin and lung tumors.

For these reasons, it was logical to study how omega-3 fatty acids affect ovarian cancer as there continues to be no effective treatment at this time, said Janice Bahr, a professor emerita in the U of I Department of Animal Sciences and one of the nation's leading poultry researchers.

According to Bahr, 25,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and 15,000 die. The incidences of death in other cancers have dropped recently, but ovarian cancer death rates have remained the same.

"The chicken is the only animal that spontaneously develops ovarian cancer on the surface of the ovaries like humans," Bahr said. "In this study, we evaluated how a flaxseed-enriched diet affected 2-year-old laying hens (hens that have ovulated as many times as a woman entering menopause)."

The results showed that hens fed a flaxseed-enriched diet for one year experienced a significant reduction in late-stage ovarian tumors.

"Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a very poor prognosis because they are not diagnosed until stage 3 or 4 when the cancer has metastasized and spread to other parts of the body," Bahr said.

Hens fed the control diet had significantly more late-stage tumors that presented with fluid and metastases as compared to the hens fed a flaxseed diet. Though hens fed the flaxseed diet did not have a decreased incidence of ovarian cancer, they did experience fewer late-stage tumors and higher survival rates.

"In hens fed flaxseed, we found that more tumors were confined to the ovary and they had less metastatic spread," she said. "This is an important finding as the metastases that accompany late-stage ovarian cancer are the main cause of death from this disease. If the cancer is found at an early stage, when the tumor is still confined to the ovary, women have a much better prognosis and more treatment options."

In addition, researchers found that hens fed the flaxseed diet had better weight control which is important because obesity increases cancer risk. Both diets had equal caloric content, however the flaxseed-fed hens weighed less at six months than the control-fed hens. But at 12 months, the flaxseed-fed hens were the same weight and the control-fed hens had loss significant weight, which was indicative of their failing health. Ultimately, the flaxseed-enriched diet helped the birds maintain a healthy weight and resulted in less sickness and death.

"Through this research, we have proven that flaxseed supplementation for one year is able to reduce the severity of ovarian cancer in hens," she said. "These findings may provide the basis for a clinical trial that evaluates the efficacy of flaxseed as a chemosuppressant of ovarian cancer in women."

The cause of ovarian cancer remains unknown, but one of the most prevalent theories is the "incessant ovulation hypothesis," proposed by MF Fathalla in 1971. He suggests that inflammation associated with continuous ovulation leaves ovarian surface epithelial cells susceptible to malignant transformation. The observation that egg-laying domestic hens frequently develop ovarian cancer supports this hypothesis.

Bahr believes this hypothesis is valid and is currently in the middle of a four-year study to determine if long-term dietary intervention with flaxseed will reduce the incidence of ovarian cancer development. The hens started the flaxseed-supplemented diet at 22 weeks of age, as soon as they commenced egg laying and before damage from ovulation had accumulated.

This research was published in Gynecologic Oncology and funded by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Grant, an American Institute for Cancer Research Grant, and an NIH Training Grant.

Researchers included principal investigator Dale Buchanan Hales of Southern Illinois University. Co-principal investigators include Janice Bahr of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Kristine Ansenberger and Cassandra Richards of the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Yan Zhuge, Judith Luborsky and Animesh Barua of Rush University Medical Center.

NOTE: Digital photos available at http://images.itcs.uiuc.edu/media/bahr/

News writer: Jennifer Shike
phone: 217-244-0888; email: jshike@illinois.edu

Jennifer Shike | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>