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Vitamin E Derivative Shown to kill Cancer Cells, Study Finds

A study published in the April 28 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry indicates a derivative of vitamin E kills cancer cells. The researchers who conducted the study then used that knowledge to enhance the ability of the agent to be a more potent cancer killer.
 
Taken by some people as a nutritional supplement with antioxidant properties, vitamin E succinate, or alpha tocopheryl succinate, is the compound that was studied. In addition, it has a weak ability to kill cancer cells, and it has been tested as a cancer chemopreventive agent. 
 
By forcing cancer cells to undergo a natural process known as programmed cell death, or apoptosis the compound kills cancer cells. Until this point, the method in which the agent caused this to happen remained a mystery.
 
These findings answer that question and also indicate that the molecule’s antitumor activity is separate from its antioxidant effect.¬†
 
Researchers with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James led the study.
 
“Our findings could lead to a potent chemopreventive agent that has both strong anticancer and antioxidant properties,” says principal investigator Ching-Shih Chen, professor of pharmacy and of internal medicine and a researcher with the
OSUCCC-James. 
 
“Such an agent might help reduce the risk of prostate, colon and other cancers.”¬†
 
How the agent kills cancer cells no longer remains a mystery as Chen and his team found that vitamin E succinate works by blocking a protein called Bcl-xL which is made by healthy cells. Bcl-xL often exists in abnormally high levels in cancer cells and prevents them from dying when they should. 
 
Through the use of computer modeling, the researchers found that the vitamin E derivative works by lodging in a groove in the structure of the Bcl-xL protein and causing it to become disabled. 
 
The vitamin E molecule does however, have a long coiled, protruding tail that keeps it from fitting tightly, and more effectively, into the groove. 
 
Chen says “Once we identified how the agent and the protein interact, we asked how we could improve that interaction.”¬†
 
According to the scientists, a relatively simple process of altering the molecule’s structure made a tighter fit possible and improved the agent’s ability to kill cancer cells by five to ten-fold in laboratory tests.¬†¬†
 
“Overall, our findings are proof of the principle that this drug can kill cancer cells very effectively but does very little damage to healthy cells,” Chen says.

Frank Mangano’s commentary:
 
Folks, the benefits of vitamin E have long been known. 

Vitamin E deficiency has been linked to both bowel cancer and breast cancer. A deficiency may also result in damage to red blood cells and destruction of nerves.

Antioxidants in Vitamin E help fight free radicals and oxidants, molecules which damage fats and cells. It’s very important in cancer prevention.¬†Vitamin E is¬†helpful in preventing oxidation of¬†LDL (bad)¬†cholesterol. It also¬†promotes normal blood clotting and healing, lowers blood pressure and maintains healthy nerves.

Some excellent food sources include dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

*Important note* If you’re taking a Vitamin E supplement be sure¬†it’s¬†a natural source of Vitamin E as synthetic Vitamin E is only 67 percent as active as the natural form. Look for the “d-alpha-tocopherol” form, which¬†is the most potent.

Related Posts

  1. Increased Vitamin D Intake Can Ward Off Cancer, Study Shows
  2. Mammograms Offer No Protection Against Breast Cancer, Study Finds
  3. Intake of Prenatal Vitamins Drastically Reduces Children’s Cancer Risk, Study Finds
  4. Antioxidant Shown to be Effective in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes, Study Concludes
  5. Vitamin D Significantly Lowers Cancer Risk, Researchers Conclude
  


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