Fighting and Helping to Prevent Cancer with Foods.

For those interested in cancer prevention or one of the mechanisms that the body uses to handle cancer, apoptosis, a type of programed cell death,  the summary that I have included below of this article addresses  how functional foods (biologic agents) are being used to  help target body mechanisms to not only fight but to help prevent cancer.

Elsewhere in the lengthy article, which I have omitted due to space limitations, the author quotes research stating  that dietary habits are estimated to contribute to at least 35%, but as much as 70%, of all cancers.

 

Targeting Apoptosis with Dietary Bioactive Agents

KEITH R. MARTIN1

Nutrition and Cancer Laboratory, Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State
University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802

 

Apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death, is a pivotal defense against the occurrence of cancer and is essential to metazoans in maintaining tissue homeostasis. Apoptosis exhibits a dis­tinctive phenotype and involves elimination of potentially deleterious cells. Many diseases have been associated with aberrantly regulated apoptotic cell death, ultimately leading to inhibition of apoptosis and propagation of diseases such as cancer. Elucidation of the critical events associated with carcinogenesis provides the opportunity for dietary intervention to prevent cancer development through induction of apoptosis, particularly by bioactive agents or functional foods. Diet is a significant environmental factor in the overall cancer process and can exacerbate or interfere with carcinogenesis. Apoptosis occurs primarily through two well-recognized pathways in cells, including the intrinsic, or mitochondrial-mediated, effector mechanism and the extrinsic, or death receptor–mediated, effector mechanism. In addition to diet’s effects on protein expression and function, evidence is also accumulating that a large number of dietary food components can exert effects on the human genome, either directly or indirectly, to modulate gene expression. In fact, many diet-related genes are involved in carcinogenesis as well as apoptosis, and thus are ultimately molecular targets for dietary chemoprevention. There are multi­ple steps within pathways in which dietary components can alter gene expression and phenotypes of cells and thus influence cancer outcomes (nutritional transcriptomic effect). Thus, apoptosis is an emerging therapeutic target of bioactive agents of diet…

Copyright © 2006 by the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine