breaking news

MedFlight transports one from motorcycle crash in Springfield

Amino acid in asparagus could cause cancer to spread, study says


Are you a fan of asparagus? Beware, because the food contains an amino acid that has been associated with spreading breast cancer, according to a new report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute recently conducted an experiment, published in the Nature journal, to determine how asparagine, the amino acid that builds protein, may be linked to the disease. Foods with higher concentrations of the compound include asparagus, soy, dairy, poultry and seafood.

>> Related: New cancer 'vaccine' completely wipes out tumors in mice -- human trials are on way

To do so, they attempted to block the production of asparagine in mice with a drug called L-asparaginase. They also fed the animals a low-asparagine diet. After analyzing the results, they found that both methods reduced breast cancer’s ability to spread.

Scientists then used the mice studies to assess human breast cancer patients. They discovered “the greater the ability of breast cancer cells to make asparagine, the more likely the disease is to spread,” the authors wrote. They said this could also be the case for kidney and head and neck cancers.

>> On AJC.com: Breast cancer treatment may trigger heart problems, study says

“Our work has pinpointed one of the key mechanisms that promotes the ability of breast cancer cells to spread. When the availability of asparagine was reduced, we saw little impact on the primary tumour in the breast, but tumour cells had reduced capacity for metastases in other parts of the body,” the study’s lead author, Greg Hannon, said in a statement. “This finding adds vital information to our understanding of how we can stop cancer spreading – the main reason patients die from their disease.”

In addition to chemotherapy, researchers believe doctors should give patients asparagine-restricted diets to help prevent the illness from spreading. They also want to further their investigations to understand how to make the drug work with patients.

>> Related: Pharmaceutical company touts 'breakthrough' cancer treatment 

“The next step in the research would be to understand how this translates from the lab to patients and which patients are most likely to benefit from any potential treatment,” study co-author Charles Swanton added. “It’s possible that in future, this drug could be repurposed to help treat breast cancer patients.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Shooting survivor forced to sell business after robbery, family says
Shooting survivor forced to sell business after robbery, family says

Vipin Sharma visited his Arlington Expressway BP service station on Friday for the first time since he was shot in an armed robbery in July.  “Awesome," Sharma said. "I never thought I would be able to make it.” He told Action News Jax the bullet is lodged in his pelvis and he has a blood clot in his leg. >> Read...
Mother furious after son, 5, found walking home from school alone
Mother furious after son, 5, found walking home from school alone

An Orange County woman said she is upset after her 5-year-old son was sent walking home by himself on the third day of school. >> Read more trending news  Sara Tavares said her son, Joey Hoffman, wandered for about 45 minutes Wednesday before a school resource officer found him a mile away. "I'm furious," she said. "I mean...
MedFlight transports one from motorcycle crash in Springfield
MedFlight transports one from motorcycle crash in Springfield

UPDATE @ 8:11 p.m.: The male motorcycle driver was transported via MedFlight to a local hospital, police say. He sustained non-life threatening injuries. Reports say passengers in the other vehicle are uninjured. INITIAL STORY: MedFlight is reportedly on standby for a man who crashed his motorcycle in a two-vehicle crash in Springfield Saturday evening...
Florida woman arrested after stealing donations for slain girl, police say
Florida woman arrested after stealing donations for slain girl, police say

A woman accused of stealing a donation jar with at least $600 meant for the family of a young girl killed earlier this week has been arrested, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  Heydi Rivas-Villanueva was shot while sitting in a car, caught in the crossfire of a shooting, investigators said. She died at Wolfson Children's...
Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel, to hang up skis in Florida
Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel, to hang up skis in Florida

One of the animal world’s most recognized stars is hanging up her skis in her hometown of Orlando this weekend.  >> Read more trending news  Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel, is giving her final performances at the Orlando Boat Show at the Orange County Convention Center.  For years, Twiggy has entertained fans around the...
More Stories