(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) A team of UC Davis scientists has found that a product resulting from a metabolized omega-3 fatty acid helps combat cancer by cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients that fuel tumor growth and spread of the disease.
The scientists report their discovery in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The groundbreaking study was a collaboration among multiple UC Davis laboratories and Harvard University.
The metabolite is epoxy docosapentaenoic acid (EDP), an endogenous compound produced by the human body from the omega-3 fatty acid named docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is found in fish oil and breast milk. In animal studies, the UC Davis scientists found that EDP inhibits angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels in the body.
Tumors grow and spread by hijacking the normal biological process of angiogenesis, which plays a role in wound repair as well in growth and development. The UC Davis researchers determined that by inhibiting angiogenesis, EDP reduces the growth and spread (metastasis) of tumors in mice. The research provides the first scientific evidence about EDP's potent anti-cancer, anti-metastatic effects.
EDP works by a different mechanism than many current anti-cancer drugs that block angiogenesis.
"Our investigation opens up a new understanding of the pathways by which omega-3 fatty acids exert their biologic effects," said Guodong Zhang, the lead author of the article and a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Bruce Hammock in the Department of Entomology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The researchers said that future studies hopefully will determine that stabilized EDP can be safely and effectively combined with other current anti-angiogenesis drugs in the treatment of cancer.
"As far as we know, EDPs are the first signaling lipids that have been discovered to have such potent anti-cancer
|Contact: Dorsey Griffith|
University of California - Davis Health System