Friday, February 6, 2009

Vitamin D's Role in Improved Diagnosis for Breast Cancer Patients

The active form of vitamin D (calcitrol) has been found to induce a tumor suppressing protein that can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, according to a study by researcher Sylvia Chistakos, Ph.D., of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.

This professor of biochemistry is a worldwide expert on Vitamin D, and she has in the past published extensively on the multiple roles of vitamin D. Her past work has shown how Vitamin D inhibits the growth of malignant cells found in breast cancer. In the case of her latest work, these findings elaborate on how vitamin D induces a particular protein that inhibits breast cancer growth. This work is published in a recent issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

It has been shown that increased serum levels of vitamin D are associated with an improved diagnosis for those patients with breast cancer. Prior to the current study, little was known about why this was occurring.

During the study, Christakos (along with co-author Dr. Puneet Dhawan) examined the protein involved in this scenario. “These results provide an important process in which the active form of vitamin D may work to reduce growth of breast cancer cells,” said Christakos. “These studies provide a basis for the design of new anticancer agents that can target the protein as a candidate for breast cancer treatment.”

It seems that every day we are learning something new about the importance of Vitamin D for our health.


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