Researchers have now developed a potent cancer killer based on the finding that alpha tocopheryl succinate or Vitamin E succinate// (derivative of Vitamin E) is capable of inducing death of cancer cells. Infamous for its anti-oxidant properties, many take the substance as a nutritional supplement.
The substance kills cancer cells by causing them to undergo a natural process known as programmed cell death, or apoptosis. Until now, no one knew how the agent caused this to happen.
These findings answer that question and also indicate that the molecule's antitumor activity is separate from its antioxidant effect.
The study, led by researchers with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James), is published in the April 28 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
‘Our findings could lead to a potent chemopreventive agent that has both strong anticancer and antioxidant properties,’ says principal investigator Ching-Shih Chen, professor of pharmacy and of internal medicine, and a researcher with the OSUCCC-James.
‘Such an agent might help reduce the risk of prostate, colon and other cancers.’
Chen and his collaborators found that vitamin E succinate works by blocking a protein called Bcl-xL. The protein, which is made by healthy cells, is often present at abnormally high levels in cancer cells and protects them from dying when they should.
Using computer modeling, the researchers found that the vitamin E derivative works because it lodges in a groove in the structure of the Bcl-xL protein, disabling it.
However, the vitamin E molecule has a long, coiled, protruding tail that keeps the molecule from fitting tightly, and more effectively, into the groove.
‘Once we identified how the agent and the protein interact, we asked how we could improve that interaction,’ Chen says.
e scientists found that a relatively simple process of altering the molecule's structure – basically cutting the tail short – allowed a tighter fit and improved the agent's ability to kill cancer cells by five- to ten-fold in laboratory tests.
‘Overall, out findings are proof of the principle that this drug can kill cancer cells very effectively but does very little damage to healthy cells,’ Chen says.
Chen is also the Lucius A. Wing chair of cancer research and therapy at the OSUCCC-James and the Kimberly professor of pharmacy. Funding from the National Cancer Institute supported this research.
Related medicine news :1
. Researchers urge caution in using ear tube surgery2
. Researchers Scale to assess the Severity of Epilepsy in Kids3
. Researchers trick Alzheimers Enzyme4
. Researchers find new HIV hiding place5
. New Hair in 15 Days Could Now Be A Possibility Say Researchers 6
. Researchers developed world’s smallest toothbrus7
. Researchers discover receptor cells that can cause epilepsy
. 15 Anti-SARS Drugs Identified By China-Europe Team of Researchers 9
. Researchers reversed the process of memory loss10
. Researchers Identify Key Gene That May Help Brain Treatment 11
. Researchers Discover Protein That Causes Malaria