Thursday, October 23, 2014

Researchers find missing link between vitamin D and prostate cancer

CANCER DIGEST – Oct. 23, 2014 – A new study shows that a gene known to be stimulated into action by vitamin D, is notably absent in samples of human prostate cancer driven by inflammation.

Since demonstrating that vitamin D stimulates production of GDF-15, researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center wondered if this gene might be a mechanism through which vitamin D works in prostate cancer. 

Initially it seemed as if the answer was no, but then using a sophisticated computer algorithm to analyze immune system chemical (immunohistochemical) data they were able to quantify the expression of the GDF-15 protein and inflammatory cells taken from human prostate samples. What they found was that levels of GDF-15 were uniformly low in samples of prostate tissue that contained inflammation.

Additionally encouraging is they found the gene GDF-15 may also suppress inflammation by inhibiting another target, NFkB. This target has been the focus of many previous studies in which it has been shown to promote inflammation and contribute to tumor formation and growth. 

With this new understanding, the researchers are looking for ways they might use GDF-15 to target NFkB to suppress inflammation and perhaps prevent or halt prostate tumor growth.

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