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!
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences