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Decoded: How Omega-3 fatty acid helps inhibit cancer's spread

IANS  |  New York 

While eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, certain nuts and seeds, have been known to prevent and arthritis, a new research, led by one of Indian-origin, showed that omega-3 fatty byproducts may also have anti-effects.

The new study, led by from at Urbana-Champaign, US, showed that when the human body metabolises omega-3 fatty acids, it produces a class of molecules called endocannabinoid epoxides, or EDP-EAs. These have anti-inflammatory properties and can inhibit cancer's growth and spread.

The EDP-EAs have similar properties to cannabinoids found in marijuana -- but without the psychotropic effects -- and they target the same receptor in the body that cannabis does.

"We have a built-in endocannabinoid system which is anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing. Now we see it is also anti-cancer, stopping the cells from proliferating or migrating," said from at

"These molecules could address multiple problems: cancer, and pain," Das added.

For the study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, the team studied the effect of the molecule in mice with of -- a that is not only painful but also difficult to treat.

The results showed that the endocannabinoids slowed the growth of and blood vessels, inhibited the cells from migrating and caused cancer cell death.

The higher concentrations of EDP-EAs did kill cancer cells, but not as effectively as other chemotherapeutic drugs on the market. But, the compounds slowed growth by inhibiting new blood vessels from forming to supply the with nutrients. They also prevented interactions between the cells, and most significantly, they appeared to stop cancerous cells from migrating.

While dietary consumption of omega-3 can lead to EDP-EAs, for those with cancer, something concentrated and fast acting is needed, Das said.

"That's where the endocannabinoid epoxide derivatives come into play - you could make a concentrated dose of the exact compound that's most effective against the cancer. You could also mix this with other drugs such as chemotherapies," she added.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, July 14 2018. 14:48 IST
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