Supplement  inhibits colon cancer cell growth

An April 6, 2020 University of California at Irving study found that using a “modified natural substance along with current clinical approaches could improve colon cancer treatment”.

Working on the knowledge that 80% of colon cancers develop due to a genetic mutation of the protein adenomatous polyposis coli, or APC, the UCI research team decided to look into non-genetic factors that cause this disease.  The team gave specific focus on the role of amino acid glutamine due to the fact the cancer cells consume a great deal of glutamine.  Mei Kong, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry at UCI noted that the team “found that depriving them of glutamine doesn’t kill all the tumor cells. Some tumor cells are able to adapt and in fact, when their glutamine supply runs low, they turn into a more invasive form of cancer.” However the researchers found that if “they provided a modified version of alpha-ketoglutarate to animal models with APC mutations, the results were significant. Just 23 percent of those given the modified metabolite developed rectal bleeding, an indication of intestinal tumors, compared to 90 percent of the animal models who did not receive it. It also curbed tumor growth and protected against disease-associated conditions such as weight loss. (In short) supplementation of the modified alpha-ketoglutarate inhibits a key cancer-development signaling pathway in colon cancer cells, turning them into more normal cells.”

Researcher Thai Q. Tran, the study’s first author notes “What’s also notable is that we administered it by mixing it into drinking water, so it was easy to take and it did not affect overall health.”

The research was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Marian Waterman’s group in the UCI School of medicine. Support for the research was provided by the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society.