U of I researcher Elvira de Mejia has found that the soy peptide lunasin binds to a specific receptor in highly metastatic colon cancer cells, preventing them from attaching to the liver.
"When lunasin was used in combination with the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin, we saw a sixfold reduction in the number of new tumor sites," said de Mejia, a U of I associate professor of food chemistry and food toxicology.
The study appears in the most recent issue of Cancer Letters and can be accessed online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304383511005325 . In a separate study, the scientists showed that lunasin induces cell death in highly metastatic human colon cancer cells.
According to de Mejia, almost all colon cancer deaths are caused when cancer metastasizes—or spreads—to the liver. Until now chemotherapy has targeted the primary tumor because the process of metastasis is not well understood, she said.
"In this study, we have learned 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 P. Dia, a U of I postdoctoral fellow in the de Mejia laboratory and lead author of the study.
When that receptor is blocked, new blood vessels can't form and differentiate, and that prevents cancer from spreading. Binding such receptors has emerged as a promising target for developing cancer therapies, he said.
In the study, which mimicked the spread of colon cancer in humans, mice were separated into four groups: a control group; a group that was injected daily with lunasin; a group injected with the chemo drug oxaliplatin; and a group that received both lunasin and oxaliplatin. After 28 days, the mice were examined to learn the extent of cancer's involvement in the liver.
"The group that received lunasin alone had 50 percent fewer metastatic sites. But an even more exciting result was seen in the group that received both lunasin and the chemotherapy drug—only 5 new cancer sites when compared with 28 in the control group," de Mejia noted.
"This huge reduction in metastasis was achieved with the amount of lunasin in only 25 daily grams of soy protein, the amount recommended in the FDA health claim," Dia said.
The researchers said they recently analyzed commercial soy milks available in their area, and all contained lunasin. However, the amount of lunasin depended on the type of soy product that was used to prepare the soy milk.
"Two glasses of soy milk a day generally provide half the amount of lunasin used in our study," said de Mejia. "It certainly seems feasible to create a lunasin-enriched product that people could consume in a preventive way."
The scientists said their next step will be a colon cancer study in which they make lunasin part of the animals' diet—rather than injecting the peptide—to see if digestion and absorption alter its effectiveness. Soon they hope to be able to move on to human trials.
Dia received the American Oil Chemists Society's 2011 Hans Kaunitz Award for his work with lunasin.
Vermont P. Dia and Elvira de Mejia of the U of I are co-authors of both the study published in Cancer Letters and the in vitro study of lunasin's effect on human cancer cells published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, vol. 55, p. 623-634, 2011, available online at www://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.201000419/pdf. Funding was provided by the USDA, the U of I College of ACES Office of Research, and the Illinois Soybean Association.
Phyllis Picklesimer | EurekAlert!
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology