The study, published recently in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, is believed to be the first to provide unequivocal evidence that omega-3s reduce cancer risk.
“It’s a significant finding,” said David Ma, a professor in Guelph’s Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, and one of the study’s authors.
“We show that lifelong exposure to omega-3s has a beneficial role in disease prevention – in this case, breast cancer prevention. What’s important is that we have proven that omega-3s are the driving force and not something else.”
Breast cancer remains the most common form of cancer in women worldwide and is the second leading cause of female cancer deaths.
Advocates have long believed diet may significantly help in preventing cancer. But epidemiological and experimental studies to back up such claims have been lacking, and human studies have been inconsistent, Ma said.
“There are inherent challenges in conducting and measuring diet in such studies, and it has hindered our ability to firmly establish linkages between dietary nutrients and cancer risk,” he said.
“So we’ve used modern genetic tools to address a classic nutritional question.”
For their study, the researchers created a novel transgenic mouse that both produces omega-3 fatty acids and develops aggressive mammary tumours. The team compared those animals to mice genetically engineered only to develop the same tumours.
“This model provides a purely genetic approach to investigate the effects of lifelong omega-3s exposure on breast cancer development,” Ma said.
“To our knowledge, no such approach has been used previously to investigate the role of omega-3s and breast cancer.”
Mice producing omega-3s developed only two-thirds as many tumours – and tumours were also 30-per-cent smaller – as compared to the control mice.
“The difference can be solely attributed to the presence of omega-3s in the transgenic mice – that’s significant,” Ma said.
“The fact that a food nutrient can have a significant effect on tumour development and growth is remarkable and has considerable implications in breast cancer prevention.”
Known as an expert in how fats influence health and disease, Ma hopes the study leads to more research on using diet to reduce cancer risk and on the benefits of healthy living.
“Prevention is an area of growing importance. We are working to build a better planet, and that includes better lifestyle and diet,” he said.
“The long-term consequences of reducing disease incidence can have a tremendous effect on the health-care system.”
The study also involved lead author Mira MacLennan, a former U of G graduate student who is now studying medicine at Dalhousie University; U of G pathobiology professor Geoffrey Wood; former Guelph graduate students Shannon Clarke and Kate Perez; William Muller from McGill University; and Jing Kang from Harvard Medical School.
Funding for this research came from the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance/Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research Fund.Contact:
David Ma | EurekAlert!
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.07.2018 | Life Sciences
16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences