Selenium compounds aid cancer fight

25 November 2014

Selenium, which is naturally found in food like garlic and broccoli, could help the body fight off some types of cancer such as melanoma, prostate cancer and certain types of leukaemia. These diseases are able to take over the body by over-activating the immune system but selenium could help inhibit this response.

A new study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, suggests that this could help improve cancer treatment in the future.

Cells that change to mutate into cancer are normally not removed by the immune system, and some even have the ability to manipulate it so cancer cells are left to develop. Certain cancer cells overexpress immunostimulatory molecules in liquid form, which can have a further negative impact on the immune system.

Professor Soren Skov, from the University of Copenhagen's Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, said these stimulating molecules over-activate the immune system and cause it to collapse.

Along with a team of researchers, Professor Skov focused their study on NGK2D ligands. There are eight variants but one was of particular interest as it assumes liquid form and it is this molecular dissolution that causes serious problems. This 'infects' the entire bloodstream and the molecule is therefore used as a biomarker.

Posted by Philip Briggs​


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