VITAMIN A TRANSFORMS PRE-CANCEROUS CELLS BACK TO HEALTHY CELLS
Retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A found abundantly in sweet potato and carrots, has been shown to transform pre-cancerous breast cells back into their normal, healthy state. Sandra V. Fernandez, Ph.D., assistant research professor of medical oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, and colleagues, evaluated the effect of retinoic acid on 4 types of cells, each one representing a different stage of breast cancer: normal, pre-cancerous, cancerous, and a fully aggressive model.
Results showed that the retinoic acid had a marked effect upon the pre-cancerous cells, not only making them look like healthy cells again, but also reverting their genetic signature back to normal. However, cells that were considered fully cancerous did not respond at all to retinoic acid, thus suggesting that there may only be a small window of opportunity for retinoic acid to be helpful in preventing cancer progression.
In addition, only one concentration of retinoic acid (about 1 micro Molar) produced the anti-cancer effects – lower concentrations had no effect and higher concentrations produced a smaller effect. After the success of this study, the researchers are hoping to determine whether the amount of retinoic acid required can be maintained in an animal model.
Reference: Arisi MF, Starker RA, Addya S, Huang Y, Fernandez SV. All trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) induces re-differentiation of early transformed breast epithelial cells.