Scientists find protein that promotes cancers, heart disease; create substance to block its effects

August 21, 2012

Strong scientific evidence suggests that high levels of a blood protein called galectin-3 may increase the risk of heart attacks, cancer and other diseases, and help forecast the outcome of those diseases, a scientist reported here today at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Isaac Eliaz, M.D., who outlined the scientific case against galectin-3, said a new galectin-3 blood test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can be useful in determining the risk and prognosis of numerous diseases. His presentation also included evidence that modified citrus pectin, produced from the white pulp inside orange peel and other citrus fruit, can bind and block excess galectin-3 activity.

The body cannot absorb natural citrus pectin, which passes through the GI tract undigested, Eliaz explained. Modification permits its absorption into the blood, where it blocks the negative effects of galectin-3, he added.

Eliaz said his conclusions were based on evidence from clinical trials involving close to 8,000 people.

Explore further: Sugar-binding protein may play a role in HIV infection

More information:

Abstract

Dr. Isaac Eliaz will discuss new research on the role of galectin-3 and modified citrus pectin (MCP) in health and disease, and MCP as a galectin-3 inhibitor. MCP is a polysaccharide obtained from the peel pith of citrus fruits and modified for enhanced bio-absorption and biological activity. Recent studies have shown that high concentrations of free circulating galectin-3 in the blood are seen in many different cancer patients and contribute to the metastatic spread of cancer via numerous mechanisms. High galectin-3 levels are linked to inflammation, fibrosis, progressive heart disease and cancer progression. Thus, galectin-3 can be used as a novel therapeutic target in numerous conditions. Dr. Eliaz will discuss the application of a galectin-3 serum assay as a tool for risk prognosis, and explain how MCP functions to inhibit galectin-3. Research on MCP's anticancer effects, immune activation, heavy metal detoxification and synergy with specific botanicals will be presented.

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