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Common Food Preservative May Someday Be Used To Fight Oral And Other Cancers

November 1, 2012: 12:00 AM EST
The commonly used antibacterial food preservative nicin may someday be used to treat head and neck squamous cell cancers because it slows and even stops cancer cell proliferation, University of Michigan researchers have found. The researchers, noting that nicin was deemed safe for human consumption decades ago, said it should be relatively easy to get FDA approval for clinical trials. Antibacterial agents like nisin alter cell properties in bacteria to render it harmless. The Michigan study found that nisin also alters cancer cell properties, slowing cell proliferation and causing cell death by activating a protein called CHAC1 in cancer cells, a protein known to influence cell death.
Nam E. Joo et al., "Nisin, an apoptogenic bacteriocin and food preservative, attenuates HNSCC tumorigenesis via CHAC1", Cancer Medicine, November 01, 2012, © John Wiley & Sons
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