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Montreal Gazette - Is cell killer the answer to cancer?

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Published: 5 Jan 2012

Is this the elusive magic bullet that cancer researchers have been searching for after all these years? A natural anti-aging, fat-burning compound has been found to kill breast-cancer and brain-tumour cells while sparing healthy ones - at least in cell cultures in the lab, according to new research by a team of Montreal and Saskatchewan scientists.

Is this the elusive magic bullet that cancer researchers have been searching for after all these years?

A natural anti-aging, fat-burning compound has been found to kill breast-cancer and brain-tumour cells while sparing healthy ones - at least in cell cultures in the lab, according to new research by a team of Montreal and Saskatchewan scientists.

The compound, called lithocholic acid (LCA), is naturally produced in the liver for digestion, helping to turn fat into energy. But scientists have found LCA also possesses potential life-extending properties.

Vladimir Titorenko, the research chair in genomics, cell biology and aging at Concordia University, had already proved in a previous study that LCA can extend the lifespan of aging yeast. Titorenko and his colleagues then turned their attention to human cell cultures that were treated with LCA. To their surprise, LCA spared healthy cells while triggering apoptosis - or cell death - in cancerous cells…

The researchers, including those from McGill University, the Jewish General Hospital and the University of Saskatchewan, were able to eradicate cultured rat glioma cells.

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