Vitamin E :: Vitamin E?s cancer-killing properties identified
Researchers have now learnt how a derivative of vitamin E causes the death of cancer cells.
The compound, called vitamin E succinate, or alpha tocopheryl succinate, is taken by some people as a nutritional supplement, mainly for its antioxidant properties. In addition, it has a weak ability to kill cancer cells, and it has been tested as a cancer chemopreventive agent.
The substance kills cancer cells by causing them to undergo a natural process known as programmed cell death, or apoptosis.
These findings answer that question and also indicate that the molecule’s antitumor activity is separate from its antioxidant effect.
The study, led by researchers with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James), is published in the April 28 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Our findings could lead to a potent chemopreventive agent that has both strong anticancer and antioxidant properties, says principal investigator Ching-Shih Chen, professor of pharmacy and of internal medicine and a researcher with the OSUCCC-James.
Overall, out findings are proof of the principle that this drug can kill cancer cells very effectively but does very little damage to healthy cells, Chen says.