Hillman emphasized that soy supplements alone are not a substitute for conventional cancer treatment, and that doses of soy isoflavones must be medically administered in combination with conventional cancer treatments to have the desired effects.
"Preliminary studies indicate that soy could cause radioprotection," she said. "It is important to show what is happening in the lung tissue."
The next step, she said, is to evaluate the effects of soy isoflavones in mouse lung tumor models to determine the conditions that will maximize the tumor-killing and normal tissue-protecting effects during radiation therapy.
"If we succeed in addressing preclinical issues in the mouse lung cancer model showing the benefits of this combined treatment, we could design clinical protocols for non-small cell lung cancer to improve the radiotherapy of lung cancer," Hillman said. "We also could improve the secondary effects of radiation, for example, improving the level of breathing in the lungs."
Once protocols are developed, she said, clinicians can begin using soy isoflavones combined with radiation therapy in humans, a process they believe will yield both therapeutic and economic benefits.
"In contrast to drugs, soy is very, very safe," Hillman said. "It's also readily available, and it's cheap.
"The excitement here is that if we can protect the normal tissue from radiation effects and improve the quality of life for patients who receive radiation therapy, we will have achieved an important goal."
|Contact: Julie O'Connor|
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research