Vitamin A could help in treating prostrate cancer
A team of scientists led by Professor Norman Maitland, a prostate cancer specialist at the University of York, has found a link between Vitamin A and prostrate cancer. Their research has found a particular prostate cancer gene that is under the control of retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A. It was known for many years to doctors that low levels of vitamin A in samples of blood is associated with prostrate cancer, but the mechanisms were not known.
This is the first time a biological link is established between cancer and vitamin A.
This research has revealed the biological relationship between expressions of retinoic receptors and laboratory models of prostate cancers. Maitland and his team have discovered that the prostate transglutaminase, one of the most prostate-specific genes, is controlled by the retinoic acid signaling pathway.
The scientists hopes a better understanding of how vitamin A affects the cancer cells, will lead to the development of medicines to make the disease more treatable.
Prof Maitland said his team had discovered that a derivative of vitamin A, known as retinoic acid, causes a change in prostate cancer cells which makes them far more susceptible to treatment.
They believe that vitamin A can be used as new anti-cancer treatment and advised people to make sure they include adequate levels of the nutrient in their diets. The study was carried out on prostate cancer cells but Professor Norman believes the treatment could apply to other cancers as well.
Professor Normanland, however, warned people not to rush out to buy vitamin A supplements, which could be toxic and even cancerous in high doses. Instead he advised people to take vitamin A in their daily diet by including liver, cheese, eggs, oily fish such as mackerel, milk and yogurt. Prof Maitland said people with high levels of vitamin A were easier to treat successfully and that vitamin A could be gained from a person’s diet.
Further research and studies are required to take these findings forward that could one day lead to a successful treatment for prostrate and may be other forms of cancer.