Discovery could lead to the identification of other cancer-preventing compounds
Using gene chip technology, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have identified the blueprint of genes and enzymes in the body that enable sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli and other vegetables, to prevent cancer and remove toxins from cells. The discovery was made using a "gene chip" that allows researchers to monitor the complex interactions of thousands of proteins on a whole genome rather than one at time. The study is published in the September 15, 2002 issue of the journal Cancer Research, and is the first gene profiling analysis of a cancer-preventing agent using this approach. The researchers believe the findings provide a better understanding of the bodys defense mechanisms and could lead to the identification of other cancer-preventing food compounds and strategies.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the downstream genomic targets of the transcription factor Nrf2 (Nuclear factor E2 p45-related factor 2), which scientists previously knew was activated in response to anticancer agents such as sulforaphane. The transcription factor, Nrf2, in response to cancer preventive agents, turns on genes and pathways inside the cell, whose products help in ridding the body of carcinogens.
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