Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carcinogens linked to cancer stem cells, but spinach can help

Date:
June 20, 2012
Source:
Oregon State University
Summary:
Researchers for the first time have traced the actions of a known carcinogen in cooked meat to its complex biological effects on microRNA and cancer stem cells. They also found that spinach can help prevent some of the damage done by this carcinogen.

Consumption of spinach can partially offset the damaging effects of a carcinogen found in cooked meat.
Credit: caimacanul / Fotolia

Researchers at Oregon State University have for the first time traced the actions of a known carcinogen in cooked meat to its complex biological effects on microRNA and cancer stem cells.

The findings are part of a growing awareness of the role of epigenetics in cancer, or the ways in which gene expression and cell behavior can be changed even though DNA sequence information is unaltered.

The scientists also found that consumption of spinach can partially offset the damaging effects of the carcinogen. In tests with laboratory animals, it cut the incidence of colon tumors almost in half, from 58 percent to 32 percent.

The research at OSU's Linus Pauling Institute was recently reported in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, in work supported by the National Institutes of Health.

"Cancer development is a complex, multi-step process, with damaged cells arising through various means," said Mansi Parasramka, a postdoctoral scholar with LPI. "This study showed that alterations of microRNAs affect cancer stem cell markers in colon cancer formation.

"MicroRNAs are very small factors that do very big things in cells," she said.

Traditionally, cancer was thought to be caused by changes in DNA sequence, or mutations, that allowed for uncontrolled cell growth. That's still true. However, there's also increasing interest in the role played by epigenetics, in which such factors as diet, environmental toxins, and lifestyle affect the expression of genes -- not just in cancer, but also cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurological disorders.

Included in this epigenetic equation is the formation of microRNAs -- once thought to be "junk DNA" -- which researchers were at a loss to understand. It's now known that they influence which areas of DNA get expressed or silenced.

There are hundreds of microRNAs, and the OSU scientists monitored 679 in their experiments. When they don't work right, bad things can happen, including abnormal gene expression leading to cancer.

"Recent research is showing that microRNAs are one of the key epigenetic mechanisms regulating cellular functions in normal and diseased tissues," said Rod Dashwood, the Helen P. Rumbel Professor for Cancer Prevention and director of LPI's Cancer Chemoprotection Program.

"But unlike mutations which are permanent genetic changes in DNA," he said, "the good news about epigenetics and microRNA alterations is that we may be able to restore normal cell function, via diet and healthy life style choices, or even drug treatments."

Epigenetics essentially makes every person biologically unique, Dashwood said, a product of both their genetics and their environment. That includes even identical twins.

The findings of the new study should lead to advances in understanding microRNAs, their effects on cancer stem cells, and the regulatory processes disrupted in disease development, the OSU scientists said. This might lead one day to tailored or "patient specific" therapies for cancer, Dashwood said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mansi A. Parasramka, W. Mohaiza Dashwood, Rong Wang, Amir Abdelli, George S. Bailey, David E. Williams, Emily Ho, Roderick H. Dashwood. MicroRNA profiling of carcinogen-induced rat colon tumors and the influence of dietary spinach. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201200117

Cite This Page:

Oregon State University. "Carcinogens linked to cancer stem cells, but spinach can help." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620213215.htm>.
Oregon State University. (2012, June 20). Carcinogens linked to cancer stem cells, but spinach can help. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620213215.htm
Oregon State University. "Carcinogens linked to cancer stem cells, but spinach can help." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620213215.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins