30 October 2013

Breast milk will help cure cancer

Novosibirsk scientists: milk cures a tumor

Alexey Khadaev, Rossiyskaya GazetaPreclinical trials of an antitumor drug obtained from breast milk have been completed in Novosibirsk.

The creation of effective antitumor drugs is one of the ways to solve the problem of cancer. Scientists of the Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine SB RAS contribute to this work.

According to Vladimir Richter, head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology of the IHBFM, the new drug was created on the basis of lactaptin– a fragment of human milk k-casein.

To study the properties of human breast milk components in the laboratory began in the 2000s. The ability to suppress tumor growth in a peptide consisting of 75 amino acids was revealed to some extent by chance. It turned out that this mini-protein induces the process of apoptosis (programmed death) in tumor cells.

The term "apoptosis" comes from the ancient Greek apoptosis, which means "leaf fall". This is a very apt name, however, in the human body "leaves fall off" not only in autumn, but all year round. About 50-70 billion cells die every day as a result of apoptosis. In a year, the weight of dead cells reaches the mass of a human body. Fortunately, the building material of the dead is used to create new cells and thus our body is constantly being updated.

At the same time, it is the violation of the process of apoptosis (its weakening) that is considered one of the causes of oncological diseases – cells "forget" to die on time, their unrestrained proliferation begins – a tumor arises. If, after all, it is possible to start the "broken" mechanism of death, then the cancer will begin to recede.

The potential drug was called lactaptin and received a Russian patent for it. But isolating protein from human breast milk is too difficult and expensive. Therefore, producers of recombinant lactaptin analogues were obtained in the IHBFM. With the help of genetic engineering, scientists "forced" the cells of E. coli to produce a fragment of human protein in large quantities. This opens the way for the transition from laboratory experiments to the production of the drug on an industrial scale. After that, preclinical trials began.

– The tests were carried out on laboratory animals – mice and rats, says Candidate of Biological Sciences Vladimir Richter, we tested our drug for safety and effectiveness. It turned out that lactaptin inhibits the rate of tumor growth by about 50 percent, which corresponds to today's methods of chemotherapy. But unlike "chemistry", our drug is completely safe, it is not toxic to the human body.

As the scientist explained, lactaptin triggers apoptosis in tumor cells, but does not affect healthy cells in any way. Why this happens is not yet clear. Perhaps this is due to a failure in the "death program" of cells in the tumor.

Now scientists are preparing a report on the results of preclinical trials, after which it will be necessary to obtain permission to test the drug on real cancer patients. It is planned that clinical trials will be held in the Altai Regional oncological dispensary in Barnaul. In addition, researchers have a lot of work to study the mechanisms of the effect of lactaptin on the death of tumor cells.

– As for the mechanism of triggering apoptosis, I can say that our protein penetrates into the cell and "works" from the inside, – explained Vladimir Richter, Deputy Director for Scientific Work of the IHBFM SB RAS.

But why does breast milk contain a substance that suppresses tumor growth and affects the mechanism of cell death? Does nature really care about human health from the very moment of his birth? Vladimir Richter denied this version.

– It is unlikely that lactaptin affects the processes of ensuring the vital activity of the child, rather it somehow affects the mother's body, - said the scientist.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru30.10.2013

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