Colon cancer breakthrough could lead to prevention

Colon cancer breakthrough could lead to prevention

And what foods can help prevent Colon cancer?

Colon cancer, Crohn’s, and other diseases of the gut could be better treated – or even prevented.

New research demonstrates that autophagy – an essential process whereby cells break down and recycle harmful or damaged elements within themselves to keep our bodies healthy – causes tissue inflammation when dysfunctional.

This in turn leaves us susceptible to harmful diseases, particularly in the gut.

Understanding this link could lead to more effective treatments for gut diseases – such as colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – giving healthcare professionals the ability to target the root cause of these diseases, by regulating and controlling autophagy.

Foods such as pomegranates, red grapes, pears, mushrooms, lentils, soybeans and green peas contain natural compounds which can activate autophagy, helping to prevent inflammation and gut diseases.

In a new paper published in Nature Communications, researchers have identified – for the first time – a protein which is regulated by autophagy.

Called Kenny, the protein contains a motif of amino acids that causes itself to be broken down by autophagy. When autophagy is dysfunctional, Kenny accumulates and causes inflammation.

The researchers identified this phenomenon in fruit flies, by turning Kenny fluorescent – so it would be visible – and observing at a microscopic level that the protein was present in the cell where autophagy was occurring.

They also noted that dysfunctional autophagy causes serious inflammation in fruit flies – particularly in the gut – which makes tissue inflamed, causing disease, and making the lifespan of a fruit fly half that of other flies.

To prevent serious diseases of the gut caused by inflammation, researchers state that it is necessary to find ways to control and regulate autophagy.

Humans are in even more danger from the link between autophagy, inflammation, and a dysfunctional or diseased gut – because our bodies lack the regular motif of amino acids which Kenny uses in fruit flies, making its breakdown by autophagy difficult to control or regulate.

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News source: University of Warwick. The content is edited for length and style purposes.
Figure legend: This image is for illustrative purposes only.