Asparagine for example is a nutrient present in asparagus.
They team noted that Asparagine, an amino acid is vital for the growth of breast cancer. If the diet results in decreased levels of asparagine, the next scientific step would involve a clinical trial with cancer patients.
For this study, the team conducted their animal study at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute on mice with an aggressive form of triple-negative breast cancer. Usually, it will only take a couple of weeks for the mice to die after the tumor spreads to other organs. Some of these mice were then fed on a diet low on asparagines.
Humans also have this gene, which allows them to produce asparagine biologically. "Instead, lowering blood levels of asparagine or blocking the enzyme asparagine synthetase in breast tumor cells might be the best path forward".
"It was a really huge change, [the cancers] were very hard to find", said Prof Greg Hannon. When the laboratory mice were given food rich in asparagine, the cancer cells spread more rapidly.More news: Celebrity Big Brother Spoilers: Omarosa Calls Chuck Liddell Her Insurance Policy
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Speaking on TVNZ 1's Breakfast programme this morning, Cancer Society New Zealand's chief medical director Chris Jackson says "this is a really important study".
"This adds to a growing body of evidence that diet does play a role in disease outcome", he said. If further research confirms these findings in human cells, limits on the asparagine consumption of cancer patients could reinforce existing therapies and help prevent the spread of breast cancer.
"Interestingly, the drug L-asparaginase is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia which is dependent on asparagine". Breast cancer cells with higher levels of the amino acid were more likely to spread. As per the study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in May 2017, the five year comparative survival rate for patients with metastatic breast cancer magnified between 1992 to 1994 and 2005 to 2012, increasing from 18 percent to 36 percent.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge looked at the effect of the compound asparagine, commonly found in - you guessed it - asparagus, as well as things like poultry and seafood. Foods low in asparagine include most fruits and vegetables.