New findings by a Queen's University research team dispel the popular notion that eating so-called "natural" foods will protect against cancer.
In fact, certain types of common foods and alcoholic beverages such as wine, cheese, yogurt and bread contain trace amounts of carcinogens. Maintaining a balanced diet from a variety of sources – including garlic – is a better choice, the researchers suggest.
Led by Dr. Poh-Gek Forkert of Queen's Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, the team has discovered that a naturally-occurring carcinogen found in alcoholic beverages and fermented foods causes DNA modification and mutations, ultimately leading to abnormal cell growth and lung cancer. Her research also shows that a component of garlic significantly reduces these changes.
The most recent Queen's findings are published on-line today in the journal, Carcinogenesis. This is the third in a series of four related papers: two of the companion papers are published on-line in the International Journal of Cancer and Drug Metabolism and Disposition.
Dr. Forkert's team includes PhD student Lya Hernandez and postdoctoral fellows, Drs. Heidi Chen and Ashish Sharma (all from Anatomy and Cell Biology). Also collaborating on the team are PhD student Martin Kaufmann (Biochemistry), Dr. Glenville Jones (Biochemistry), and Dr. Raymond Bowers (Chemistry).
The researchers are studying the effects of treatment with vinyl carbamate in mice. This substance is derived from ethyl carbamate (urethane), a by-product of fermentation found in alcoholic beverages, and fermented foods like cheese, yogurt and bread. It is also present naturally in tobacco.
Now labeled as a potential human carcinogen by both the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, urethane was given inadvertently to millions of patients in Japan, between 1950 and 1975, in analgesic and sedative drugs. It was estimated that the total dose of urethane administered to a 60-kilogram patient was about 0.6 to 3.0 grams. This is believed to be the largest dose on record of a pure carcinogen administered directly to people.
In 1985, Health and Welfare Canada placed limits on urethane contained in Canadian (but not imported) alcoholic beverages. "The problem is how to regulate the levels in imported goods," says Dr. Forkert.
In these studies, the mice were administered a single high dose of the carcinogenic chemical. Human exposure differs from that in mice in that it is much lower, and occurs over a prolonged period of time. A question has been raised regarding the effect on people who ingest low levels of the chemical daily over many years, and perhaps over a lifetime.
"We believe that people should not be apprehensive about consuming these foods and beverages: if consumed at low levels, they probably don't pose a risk. It might be prudent, however, to have a varied diet and to limit drinking certain alcoholic beverages," says Dr. Forkert. "And include garlic!" she adds.
Nancy Dorrance | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences