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Fruit flies all aglow light the way to cancer prevention
Date:1/14/2008

as a cancer-prevention agent. The flies that ate food with the compound glowed more strongly, demonstrating that the NRF2 pathway was more active in these flies.

Turning on our natural anti-oxidants is big business for many companies trying to develop compounds to protect us from cancer and to slow the aging process, said Bohmann. The same genetic principles govern many organisms, from flies to rodents to people, and were hopeful that our tool in fruit flies will speed this work for the benefit of patients.

When Bohmann and Sykiotis boosted the activity of the pathway, fruit flies were three times more likely to survive an exposure to a toxin than regular flies. And flies with a more active signaling system can live 10 percent longer than the other flies.

Its the first time that the system, long known to be an important anti-oxidant and cancer prevention pathway, has also been shown to play a role in giving an organism a longer lifespan. The link gives new insight into the well-established connection between aging and cancer risk.

Two of Bohmanns colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center are also studying the NRF2 pathway. Steve Georas, M.D., professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, is looking at the role of NRF2 in people with asthma. And Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., associate professor of Environmental Medicine, has shown how NRF2 protects the lungs of smokers against the assault of cigarette smoke and other pollutants. He has shown that organisms in which NRF2 is weakened or absent have weak lungs and are much more prone to conditions like emphysema.


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Contact: Tom Rickey
tom_rickey@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-7954
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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