Swiss scientists have found a biological mechanism that blocks the possibility of recurrence of colon cancer. It is used in this treatment vitamin A. which activates a protein that is lost due to the action of cancer cells.
Colon cancer takes many lives around the world and this form of cancer is extremely resistant to all previously known methods of treatment. One of the causes of its resistance is a group of cells located in the colon that create the return of cancer through its genetic material and which cannot be influenced by conventional therapies.
Most colon cancer cells die from treatment such as chemotherapy. But even so, genetic mutations in stem cells allow the cancer to survive. When anti-cancer treatment is completed, stem cells survivors can produce new colon cells, along with mutations that have caused cancer cells to form, resulting in a return of the disease.
In the laboratory of Joerg Huelsken, PhD in Switzerland, scientists investigated how colon cells develop from intestinal stem cells. Using several models, the scientists observed mouse cells as well as human cells.
The study focused on HOXA5 protein, which belongs to the family of proteins that regulate fetal development. These proteins are released during early development and have the role of ensuring and enabling the proper development and arrangement of tissues, organs and limbs of the fetus.
In the adult organism, HOXA5 regulates the distribution and function of stem cells. The scientific team found that HOXA5 protein in the case of the gut plays a major role in regulating stem cell numbers and their production.
As with other proteins, the HOXA5 protein is derived from a specific gene. Researchers have found that cancerous colon stem cells use biological mechanisms to block this gene. By blocking the HOXA5 gene, cancerous colon stem cells can develop uncontrollably and spread, resulting in metastases.
Scientists were looking for a way to stop the blockade of the HOXA5 gene. The answer to this problem was found in vitamin A. A small chemical compound called retinoid known for inducing skin stem cell differentiation has been shown to activate the HOXA5 gene activator. In mice with colon cancer , retinoid treatment blocked tumor progression and normalized tissue development by activating HOXA5 production. this treatment eliminated cancer stem cells and prevented the development of metastases. Similar results have been shown in humans.
This study suggests that HOAX5 gene expression may be even more successful in patients who have had their colon cancer cells removed. Vitamin A and retinoid therapy can be extremely effective against colon cancer, not only as a treatment for existing disease but also as a preventive measure in high-risk groups of patients.
Vitamin A which stimulates retinoid production and affects retinoid receptors in its organic form can be found in high concentrations in cod liver and is available in cod liver oil preparation.