Scientists have identified a new compound called CDDO-Im that protects against the development of liver cancer in laboratory animals. Experiments, led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, show CDDO-Im to be effective at doses 100 times lower than other compounds known to prevent cancer in people. Because of its makeup, the researchers believe CDDO-Im could be particularly effective in preventing cancers with a strong link to inflammation, such as liver, colon, prostate and gastric cancers. It could also play a role in preventing diseases such as neurodegeneration, asthma and emphysema. The findings are featured in the February 15, 2006, issue of the journal Cancer Research.
CDDO-Im is a synthetic compound that belongs to a class of cancer-fighting compounds called triterpenoids under development by Dr. Michael Sporn and other study co-authors at Dartmouth Medical School. It is derived from oleanolic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in many plants. Other oleanolic derivatives are known to reduce tumor growth in animals and humans.
Researchers believe CDDO-Im works by activating Nrf2, a master switch known to direct certain enzymes to stimulate the cell’s defense mechanisms and remove harmful chemicals from cells. “Activation of the Nrf2 pathway with CDDO-Im could provide protection against a number of diseases triggered by environmental agents,” said Thomas Kensler, PhD, a professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences and lead author of the study.
Tim Parsons | EurekAlert!
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