Fatty acids fight cancer spread

April 10, 2012
Professor Michael Murray and Dr Sarah Cui were part of the team who made the discovery.

Tiny agents found in omega-3 could potentially be used to block the path of primary cancer tumours, preventing the advance to secondary stage cancers according to pharmacy researchers at the University of Sydney.

Investigators in the Pharmacogenomics and Drug Development Group of the Faculty of Pharmacy are using to gauge the blocking capacity of the omega-3 agents called epoxides on cancer cell movement.

Dr. Michael Murray, Professor of Pharmogenetics at the University, says a major life-threatening consequence of malignant is metastasis where the disease has spread to distant sites (or tissues) and at present there are no treatments.

He led his team to the discovery of the anti-metastatic actions of epoxides which are produced within the body from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The groundbreaking work has led Murray and his Drug Development Group deeper into the molecular structure of the omega-3 agents.

Professor Murray says: "These agents are a bit like frontline soldiers blocking the assault of an invading army and now we want to advance our research which was published late last year and apply it to .

"We know that epidemiological studies have reported that dietary intake of omega-3 including eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, decrease the risk of certain cancers. And many of us are including sources of omega-3 such as tuna and salmon in our diet as a precaution.

"The major objective of our new project is to speed the development of anti-metastatic agents based on omega-3 epoxides and trial their effectiveness in vivo on breast cancer tissue.

"Longer term we are aiming to develop a completely new class of anti-metastatic drugs designed to inhibit the spread of primary cancers," Murray says.

Although not all experts agree, women who eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids over many years may be less likely to develop breast cancer. More research is needed to understand the effect that omega-3 fatty acids may have on the prevention of breast cancer says Murray.

Research has also shown that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and arthritis.

Explore further: Altering Fatty Acid Levels in Diet May Reduce Prostate Cancer Growth Rate

Related Stories

Fatty fish protects against prostate cancer

October 31, 2006

Men who eat a lot of fatty fish run a lower risk of prostate cancer, concludes a new research paper from Karolinska Institutet (Sweden). The effect is likely to be attributable to the abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, although ...

Omega-3 fatty acids protect against Parkinson's, study says

November 26, 2007

Omega-3 fatty acids protect the brain against Parkinson’s disease, according to a study by Université Laval researchers published in the online edition of the FASEB Journal, the journal of the Federation of American Societies ...

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce risk of advanced prostate cancer

March 24, 2009

Omega-3 fatty acids appear protective against advanced prostate cancer, and this effect may be modified by a genetic variant in the COX-2 gene, according to a report in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American ...

Recommended for you

Oxygen can impair cancer immunotherapy in mice

August 25, 2016

Researchers have identified a mechanism in mice by which anticancer immune responses are inhibited within the lungs, a common site of metastasis for many cancers. This mechanism involves oxygen inhibition of the anticancer ...

Stem cell propagation fuels cancer risk in different organs

August 25, 2016

The idea that stem cells - special cells that divide to repair and generate tissues - might be the major determinant of cancer risk has provoked great debate in the scientific community. Some researchers maintain that environmental ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.