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Metastatic Breast Cancer cured in Future

Metastatic Breast Cancer cured in Future

Tests on mice found cutting the intake of asparagine in the diet reduced the ability of cancer to spread, or metastasize.

The nutrient is found in asparagus and other foods including poultry and seafood.

It is unclear how the amino acid promotes tumour growth, however, it is thought to somehow aid cancerous cells in leaving their original site, surviving in the bloodstream and colonising other organs.

Slashing intake of asparagine - a nutrient found in these foods - reduced the invading power of diseased cells in mice.

They hope the finding may yield a method to prevent cancer cells spreading from their origins in a woman's breast to form tumours in her lungs, brain, other organs or bones - a process known as "metastasis" which is the most common cause of death. The same was seen in cancers of the head, neck and kidney. "It's possible that in future, this drug could be repurposed to help treat breast cancer patients".

Among the most deadly types of cancer, breast cancer is one that kills many people, not those who just diagnosed with a primary tumor, but those in whom cancer gets spread to their other parts of the body.

But when the mice were given a low-asparagine diet or drugs to block asparagine then the tumour struggled 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 (spread) in other parts of the body.

"This finding adds vital information to our understanding of how we can stop cancer spreading - the main reason patients die from their disease".

United Kingdom researchers have discovered a nutrient in everyday foods can determine a cancer's growth and expansion.

Interesting, the drug L-asparaginase is already used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which is dependent on asparagine.

"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".

But Martin Ledwick, from Cancer Research UK, said: "At the moment, there is no evidence that restricting certain foods can help fight cancer".

While asparagine is investigated further by scientists, Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, encourages cancer patients to follow a healthy and varied diet rich in fruit, vegetables and pulses, and limited in processed meat and high fat or sugar foods.


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