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University of Maryland researchers identify fish protein that may inhibit cancer metastasis
Date:3/19/2013

BALTIMORE March 19, 2013. Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have identified a peptide, or protein, derived from Pacific cod that may inhibit prostate cancer and possibly other cancers from spreading, according to preclinical research published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"The use of natural dietary products with anti-tumor activity is an important and emerging field of research," says senior author Hafiz Ahmed, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and scientist at the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET). "Understanding how these products work could allow us to develop foods that also act as cancer therapeutics and agents for immunotherapy."

Most people who succumb to cancer die because tumor cells invade the surrounding tissue and migrate into the nearby blood and lymph vessels, a process known as metastasis. For example, prostate cancer typically spreads to the bones, lungs and liver. Cancer cells that metastasize to other parts of the body grow new blood supplies and eventually overcome the person's organ systems.

"This study is among the first to explore the therapeutic utility of a bioactive cod TFD-containing glycopeptide to inhibit prostate cancer from progressing," says Dr. Ahmed, who also is affiliated with the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center. The TFD (Thomsen-Friedenreich disaccharide) antigen in the fish protein is hidden in normal human cells but is exposed on the surface of cancer cells and is believed to play a key role in how cancer spreads.

Polar fish, such as northern cod, express glycoproteins that are rich in the TFD antigen, which protect them from freezing. The research team developed a special form of TFD, called TFD100, purified from Pacific cod.

Using animal models, the researchers fou
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Contact: Karen Warmkessel
kwarmkessel@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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