Published on: 16/05/2019 20:35
Science gives reason to mothers and grandmothers when they insist on having food broccoli and cabbage because they are good for your health. These plants from the cruciferous family have long been known for their anti-cancer properties: a group of researchers, led by Italian scientist Pier Paolo Pandolfi, long in the US, has now discovered the reason for this protective effect, a molecule that is capable of switch off a gene involved in the development of various cancers. The study is published in & # 39; Science & # 39; and shows that by hitting this gene with the molecule extracted from broccoli, tumor growth stops in mice that are made in the laboratory that is vulnerable to the disease.
A discovery that paves the way for a new anti-cancer strategy. "We have identified – says Pandolfi, director of the Cancer Center and of the Cancer Research Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – a new, important protagonist, which sets in motion a crucial mechanism for developing cancer, an enzyme that can be inhibited with natural mechanism present in cruciferous flowers This mechanism – he continues – not only regulates tumor growth, but is also a kind of & # 39; achilles heel & # 39; that we can enter into with various therapeutic options. & # 39;
In practice, the substance in broccoli activates a well-known and potent tumor suppressor gene, Pten. The tumor cells show low levels of this gene: the team has therefore tried to understand whether this anti-cancer killer is coming back to perform its action, bringing it back to normal levels.
The researchers then identified the molecules and compounds that regulate the activation and functioning of Pten. And by conducting a series of experiments with mice and human cells, they discovered that a gene involved in the development of tumors, Wwp1, produces an enzyme that inhibits the anti-cancer activity of Pten, making it ineffective as a tumor suppressor. How to combat this cryptonite effect? It is here that broccoli, cabbage and co come into play.
Pandolfi and colleagues have in fact hit the target that demonstrates that a small molecule in cruciferae (indole-3-carbinol) could be the key to counteract the carcinogenic effect of the Wwp1 gene. In fact, it is inactivated to the mice, giving Pten its super suppressors. The team is now focusing on new studies with the ultimate goal of developing even more powerful inhibitors of the Wwp1 carcinogenic gene, which also uses genetic processing with Crispr technology, Pandolfi assumes.
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