Want to know the biggest cause of deaths in patients with cancer? Well, if you thought that it was primary cancer, you would be wrong.
Usually, the cancer is easily removed and destroyed using surgery or drugs when it is in its initial stages. However, when it starts to spread to other parts of the body and other organs, its danger multiplies and it because life-threatening.
While traditional counters to cancer like chemotherapy and surgery are effective on tumors, they only work to a certain extent. When cancer spreads too far in the body, even the most advanced technology and pharmaceuticals cannot do much to get rid of it.
What Does The New Research Indicate?
The research paper published by Journal Nature which was written by Simon R. V. Knott, Elvin Wagenblast and co. has some interesting results. It provides evidence of a relation to the food we eat on a daily basis and the spread and growth of cancer.
This paper described the reaction of breast tumor growth and spread when a dietary nutrient called Asparagine is varied. It says that this amino acid has shown a link between how much of the amino acid is in the diet of the cancer patient and how fast cancer spreads.
What Is Asparagine?
Asparagine is a non-essential amino acid found in humans. It was discovered in 1806 by French chemist Louis Nicolas Vauquelin. Asparagine comes from Asparagus juice which has high concentrations of the component and is the reason for the name.
This amino acid is known to help with the biosynthesis of proteins like glycoprotein and is a metabolic precursor to aspartate. This new research has catapulted its importance in helping to understand and tackle breast and other cancers.
What Is A Metastatic Cancer?
When cancer is considered to have become metastasized, it means that cancer has managed to break away from the organ where it was first formed and has now spread to other parts of the body. This tumor is usually spread through the blood system or the lymph system which forms new metastatic tumor cells that are the same type as the primary cancer cells. When the cancer reaches this point in its growth, it is usually referred to as an Advanced Cancer or Stage-4 Cancer.
How Was The Research Conducted?
The study that found the new information on the spread and suppression of cancer was conducted at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. It used a triple negative breast cancer administered to mice for the research.
For those who are unaware, triple-negative breast cancer is said to be one of the fastest spreading breast cancers and is considered to be very difficult to treat efficiently through normal means, making this research very important.
Usually, this type of cancer would spread throughout the body in a few weeks, leading to death. However, when the mice were supplied with a diet low in Asparagine or with drugs that block Asparagine, the tumor was seen struggling to spread.
According to the lead author of the study, Professor Greg Hannon:
“It was a really huge change, [the cancers] were very difficult to find. Our work has pinpointed one of the key mechanisms that promote the ability of breast cancer cells to spread.”
Asparagine is not the only food component that has been found to regulate cancer spread. The University of Glasgow has found that it’s possible to slow intestinal cancers and lymphoma development by reducing amino acids glycine and serine.
Another study has also shown that Bitter Gourd can reduce breast cancer.
What’s Next For Asparagus Lovers?
Well, firstly, you shouldn’t try to eliminate Asparagine from your diet as it is very difficult to avoid. It is found in not just asparagus but also beef, eggs, nuts, soy, legumes, whole grains, seafood, potatoes, whey, and dairy to name a few.
And as far as the new research connecting Asparagine and breast cancer progression, know that stopping your Asparagine intake has not shown to help reduce the risk of breast cancer, only its spread.
Also, this is just preliminary research on the topic and will need to be confirmed by independent studies and further investigation until doctors recommend it as a viable treatment option for breast cancer.
Michelle is the senior most expert who writes for this website. After completing her graduation and 10+ years of practice, Michelle has been involved and known for a lot of her philanthropy work. Michelle loves spending time researching and writing her papers. She occasionally writes for us and we are extremely proud to have her as one of our editors. Follow me on Linkedin