LivingNew 'anticancer' properties found in berries

New 'anticancer' properties found in berries

Diet is a key factor in cancer prevention, and although some studies have linked the intake of certain foods with a lower incidence, the truth is that there is no clear evidence that there is any food with ‘miraculous properties’ that can prevent or reverse this complex disease.

However, some studies have positioned some substances as ‘anticancer’, as is the case with the acclaimed resveratrol , (whose properties still raise serious doubts in the scientific community) also present in red fruits; or lycopene , which has been shown to inhibit cell proliferation (the main characteristic of tumor cells) and which is found in vegetables such as tomatoes or carrots.

Now, new research has found that anthocyanins, pigments present in the skin of berries, are capable of increasing the functioning of a certain enzyme in cancer cells.

The enzyme in question is called sirtuin 6 or SIRT6 , and its regulation would be key to opening new avenues in cancer treatments, the University of Eastern Finland, responsible for the study, published in a statement. The finding has been published in the journal Scientific Reports .

What role do these enzymes have in cancer?

The functioning of all cells is regulated through the expression of genes; and these enzymes, the sirtuins, help regulate said expression.

But the natural aging of cells produces alterations in the normal functions of sirtuins; changes that contribute to the development of various diseases. Remember that cancer is a complex set of diseases related to aging.

Red fruits get their red, blue or purple color from these natural pigments, anthocyanins. As well; the study showed that cyanidins, a type of anthocyanin, increased SIRT6 levels in colorectal-like tumor cells.

It decreased the expression of genes that activate cancer and increased that of tumor suppressors

In addition, it was observed that this pigment was able to influence the expression of genes related to cancer : it decreased the expression of some genes that increase the risk of tumors; and in turn, increased the expression of a tumor suppression gene.

“The most interesting results of our study are related to cyanidin, which is an anthocyanin that is very abundant in wild blueberries, black currants and lingonberries ,” according to Minna Rahnasto-Rilla, Ph.D. in Pharmacy and lead author of the article. .

Working at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Eastern Finland, the research group is now studying whether the anthocyanins found in berries could activate the function of SIRT6 and consequently reduce the expression of cancer genes and growth. cancer cells.

Although the results of the study are clear, the results are limited, for the moment, to the laboratory, and do not indicate that the direct intake of this pigment through the red fruits allows a possible tumor process to be remitted, or how much quantity would be necessary for this occurred in practice.

However, the study lays the foundations for the development of new drugs that regulate the function of SIRT6. In addition, the group also develops new compounds aimed at epigenetic regulation of gene function.

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