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Colon Cancer Treatment: Vitamin A Compound ‘Retinoic Acid’ Highly Effective, New Study Finds

First Posted: Aug 31, 2016 05:49 AM EDT
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A new study has found that retinoic acid, a compound derived from vitamin A, can play a major role in treating and suppressing colon cancer. According to a study, conducted by a team of researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California-Berkeley, boosting levels of retinoic acid in the body slows down development of colorectal cancer in both mice and humans. The research study was aimed at unraveling the connection between retinoic acid levels, immune-related inflammation and gut microorganisms.

During the study conducted on mice, the research team found that mice with cancer have lower-than-normal levels of the metabolite in their intestines. It was found that in case of human beings, those suffering from cancer patients who had high levels of a protein that degrades retinoic acid in their intestinal tissue had worse outcomes as compared to other patients, reported Eurekalert.

 When the researchers brought the retinoic acid levels in the intestines of mice with colon cancer back to normal range, they found that it slowed progression of the disease. They are hoping that the research study and findings, which has been published in the journal Immunity, will help in developing new colon cancer treatments for human beings.

"When we increased the amount of retinoic acid in the intestine, either by supplementing the animal with retinoic acid or by blocking the activity of the degradation enzyme, we were able to dramatically reduce the tumor burden in the animals," said Dr. Edgar Engleman, study senior author and professor of pathology and medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, reported UPI. "Conversely, inhibiting retinoic acid activity significantly increased the tumor burden."

Now that the researchers have found that retinoic acid deficiency leads to colorectal cancer, they would like to progress their work to identify the specific microorganisms that initiate these changes in human beings.

Stay tuned to SWR for more updates and news on colon cancer treatment.

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