Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UIC researchers show how cancer-preventing foods work

11.07.2005


Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are unraveling the biochemical mechanism by which functional foods combat cancer.



"Compounds like sulforaphane in broccoli and resveratrol in wine have been shown to prevent cancer," said Andrew Mesecar, associate professor of pharmaceutical biotechnology in the UIC College of Pharmacy. "They do that by signaling our bodies to ramp up the production of proteins capable of preventing damage to our DNA.

"We now have a good idea how that signal works."


The findings are published in this week’s Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Two key proteins, Keap1 and Nrf2, are involved in spurring the defense against cancer when disease-preventing foods are ingested, according to Mesecar and post-doctoral researcher Aimee Eggler. Keap1, the sensor protein, detects the presence of dietary compounds like sulforaphane when they link with its cysteine residues, one of the amino acids that make up proteins. Keap1 binds to Nrf2, the messenger that turns on the genes for the protective proteins, averting DNA damage.

"Earlier studies in mice suggested that natural cancer-preventing compounds worked by severing the tie between Keap1 and Nrf2, freeing Nrf2 to take action," Mesecar said. "But the signaling doesn’t happen this way in humans."

The scientists found that in humans the connection between the two proteins is not broken.

What’s important, the researchers said, is the modification of cysteines in Keap1. They found that one particular cysteine was among the most likely to be altered in the interaction with cancer-preventing compounds.

That finding corresponded with results from other researchers. As a result, the scientists are proposing that the alteration of just this one amino acid in Keap1 is the critical step that spurs higher levels of the messenger Nrf2 and, consequently, increased production of the protective proteins.

Keap1 is a promising new target for drugs to fight many different kinds of cancer, Mesecar said.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 1.3 million new cases of cancer in 2005, and roughly half of these individuals will not survive their disease, Mesecar noted. "One way of preventing cancer may be to eat certain foods rich in cancer-preventing compounds. An alternative is identifying how these compounds work and replicating their modes of action with drugs."

Mesecar’s and Eggler’s main collaborators in the study were Richard van Breemen, professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy in the UIC College of Pharmacy, and Guowen Liu, a graduate student at UIC. John Pezzuto, professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Purdue University, is also an author of the study.

Sharon Butler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uic.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New way to look at cell membranes could change the way we study disease
19.11.2018 | University of Oxford

nachricht Controlling organ growth with light
19.11.2018 | European Molecular Biology Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New materials: Growing polymer pelts

19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize

19.11.2018 | Information Technology

Controlling organ growth with light

19.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>