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Friday, July 21, 2006

"Fruity Research" May Curb Cancer Growth

Researches at the Hebrew University's Faculty of Agriculture may have found a way to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells without the use of chemotherapy.

(Israel21c) [Professor Oded] Shoseyov and his team focused the actions of actibind, a protein that is produced by the black mold Aspergillus niger: a well-known microorganism used in bio and food technology. In plants, actibind binds actin, a major component of the intracellular structure in plants, interfering with the plants' pollen tubes and halting cell growth. [...]

"Since cancer cells also have characteristic tip growth, we decided to check whether actibind has the ability to inhibit tip growth in cancer cells," he said.

The team found an actibind-like protein, RNaseT2, was also subsequently found to bind actin in human and animal migrating cells, such as the cells that are responsible for new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) in tumors.

Ironically Israeli researchers only discovered this after testing it on peaches and nectarines. Although they were unable to market their discovery towards the fruit industry, (in order to rid the trees of flowers) they were however able to successfully fight off cancer cells with this method.

For those who are curious why actibind inhibits cancer, this information below may interest them.

(Israel21c) "For many years, doctors have been using a certain molecular marker in humans to predict if a tumor is benign or malignant. When a patient has a tumor, a biopsy is taken and observed under a microscope. The rule of thumb is that if the tip of chromosome 6 is broken off, then it's an indication that the tumor is malignant and the decision is taken to go full steam ahead with treatment like chemotherapy," said Shoseyov. [...]

"To our surprise, we found that actibind is also in humans. And when it's not there, tip growth is not controlled, and that loss of control results in malignancy," he said.

Although more research needs to be conducted, this new treatment could revolutionize the way scientists fight cancer. Not to mention this method (if approved) would also enable patients to keep a full set of hair. Heh.

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