Maslinic acid shields against colon cancer

January 10th, 2009 - 2:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 10 (IANS) Maslinic acid, a compound isolated from olive skin, significantly inhibits cell proliferation and causes colon cancer cells to commit suicide, according to a new discovery. Maslinic acid is a natural compound, able to induce apoptosis or programmed death in human HT29 colon cancer cells. It could open up ways to new therapeutic strategies for treating such cancers.

This study, conducted by universities of Granada and Barcelona, is the first to investigate the precise molecular mechanisms of the anti-tumoral and pro-apoptotic effects of maslinic acid against colon cancer.

Chemopreventive agents of a natural origin, often a part of our daily diet, may provide a cheap, effective way of controlling such diseases as cancer of the colon.

A wide range of studies in recent years has shown that triterpenoids like maslinic acid hinder carcinogenesis by intervening in pathways such as carcinogen activation, DNA repair, cell cycle arrest, cell differentiation and the induction of apoptosis in cancer cells.

Triterpenoids are compounds present in plants used in traditional medicine and known to have antitumoral properties. Low concentrations of maslinic acid are to be found in plants with medicinal properties, but its concentration in the waxy skin of olives may be as high as 80 percent, said a Granada release.

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