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Vitamin D treatment for deadliest form of breast cancer

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 by: Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor
Tags: vitamin D, breast cancer, nutritional therapy

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(NaturalNews) Research just published in The Journal of Cell Biology reveals two important discoveries about one of the most aggressive and difficult to treat forms of breast cancer. Investigators led by Susana Gonzalo, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Saint Louis University , have found a molecular pathway that contributes to triple-negative breast cancer. This often deadly form of breast cancer tends to strike younger women and is resistant to existing treatments -- but Gonzalo and colleagues now believe vitamin D could be a treatment for many women with this deadly form of breast cancer.

Gonzalo's research team identified a molecular pathway in women who are born with BRCA1 gene mutations, placing them at increased risk for developing breast and ovarian cancers, frequently the triple-negative type. When this pathway is activated, tumors grow unchecked and they tend to not be sensitive to standard cancer treatments. Chemotherapy now used to treat this kind of cancer is rarely effective and carries serious side effects.

But here's the new and hopeful news. Experiments performed in Gonzalo's laboratory, in collaboration with the laboratories of Xavier Matias-Guiu and Adriana Duso at the Institute of Biomedical Research in Lleida, Spain, showed that activation of this novel pathway allows tumor cells to grow unchecked. However, vitamin D was found to enable this pathway to be turned off.

The result? According to the researchers, vitamin D could be a "safe and cost-effective strategy to fight these type of tumors."

In a press statement, the researchers noted they are hopeful that in the future, women with triple-negative breast cancer may benefit from a treatment that includes vitamin D. "As with all laboratory research, vitamin D therapy will have to be studied in a clinical trial before doctors know how safe or effective it will be," they stated.

The new research adds to other findings that vitamin D could play a role in preventing and treating breast cancer. For example, a study conducted by scientists at the German Cancer Research Center in collaboration with researchers of the University Hospitals in Hamburg-Eppendorf and published in the medical journal Carcinogenesis, found evidence that women with low blood levels of vitamin D clearly had a substantially increased risk of breast cancer.

Another study reported previously by Natural News from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that the vast majority of women undergoing treatment for breast cancer had very low levels of vitamin D in their blood. What's more, women whose disease had progressed to late-stage (i.e. terminal) cancer had the lowest levels of all.



About the author:
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA''''s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine''''s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic''''s "Men''''s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

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