Exposure to vitamin D3 or sunlight may have therapeutic qualities in head and neck cancer, according to research headed by a McGill physiologist, Dr John White.
Boosting vitamin D3 by UV light can help repair DNA, fight cancer
Exposure to vitamin D3 or sunlight may have therapeutic qualities in head and neck cancer, according to research headed by a McGill physiologist.
In a recent article published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dr John White explains how he and his team investigated the utility of a vitamin D3 analogue, EB 1089, in laboratory models of breast and prostate cancer. Using culture and cell culture-derived tumours implanted in mice, the group discovered that EB 1089 could inhibit growth of head and neck cancer cells.
The team also investigated the molecular mechanisms of the vitamin in action. They found that vitamin D3 analogues might prevent genomic instability associated with cancer progression and block cell proliferation. The result? The vitamin D3 analogue, produced by the Danish company Leo Pharmaceutical Products, has a substantial anticancer effect in head and neck cancer with an absence of side effects.
Whats more, the researchers discovered that vitamin D3 and its analogues induce the production of a protein, called GADD45, which is necessary for normal repair of DNA damage and mutations. Damage or mutation of DNA can lead to permanent genetic changes that cause cancer cell progression. This suggests that D3 analogues may provide excellent chemoprevention agents.
"Whats fascinating about these results is that production of vitamin D3 in the body starts with a photochemical reaction induced by the action of ultraviolet light in the skin," says Dr White. "Our results suggest that enhanced production of active vitamin D3 by UV light helps stimulate mechanisms that repair DNA."