WASHINGTON: A naturally occurring food preservative that grows on dairy products may be used to treat cancer and deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a new study has claimed.
Researchers at the University of Michigan in US found that feeding rats a ‘nisin milkshake’ killed 70-80 per cent of head and neck tumour cells after nine weeks and extended survival.
Scientists studied nisin in cancerous tumours and as an antimicrobial to combat diseases of the mouth. After nine weeks of nisin treatment, tumours were comparable to tumours at three weeks.
Researchers published positive results with less potent nisin, but the highly purified nisin ZP used in the present study nearly doubled its effectiveness.
The dosage of 800 mg/kg given to mice would translate to a pill a little bigger than a third of an Advil per kilogramme of body weight for people.
Nisin, a colourless, tasteless powder, is typically added to food at the rate of . Many foods contain nisin, but nowhere near the 800 mg/kg needed to kill cancer cells.
Several products available to consumers also contain nisin-creams and pharmaceuticals to fight infection and mastitis, and a sanitiser in lactating cows. Nisin also fights deadly bacteria such as antibiotic-resistant MRSA.
To date, nobody had found bacteria from humans or living animals that is resistant to nisin, said Yvonne Kapila, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Another positive is that nisin has withstood the test of time, she added.
Nisin is lethal to bacteria for two reasons – it binds to a static area of bacteria, which gives nisin the opportunity to work before bacteria changes into an antibiotic-resistant superbug, and nisin kills biofilms – colonies of bacteria that group together into a fortress that thwarts antibiotics.
Current findings and other published data support nisin’s potential use to treat antibiotic resistant infections, periodontal disease and cancer, said Ms Kapila. The findings will be published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
Researchers In Japan Develop Sensor That May Detect Cancer From Breath
In the future, it may become possible for an individual to easily check their health by connecting a sensor to a smartphone or other device. There are also hopes that the nation’s growing medical expenditures could be curbed by the early detection of disease.
The National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, played the leading role in developing the small sensor, which is capable of detecting substances in a person’s exhalations with high accuracy by analyzing the odor of the breath.
To put this technology into practical use, the institute has been working with Kyocera Corp., NEC Corp., Sumitomo Seika Chemicals Co., Osaka University and a precision equipment maker in Switzerland.
A “film” installed in the sensor, which is a tiny chip a few millimeters square, determines whether there are substances peculiar to cancer patients’ breath and calculates whether a person is suspected to have cancer. By just exhaling into the sensor, which is connected to a smartphone or other device, the result can be displayed on the screen of the device in a graph or other form.
According to NIMS, it is highly likely that the sensor will be able to distinguish what kind of cancer a person has if the sensor’s accuracy is improved and data on odor are collected.
Peculiar odors are said to be found in the respiration of patients who are suffering from diabetes, kidney and liver diseases, asthma and those with Helicobacter pylori. The sensor may make it possible to judge what kind of diseases people have, and is being considered for use not only for examinations at medical institutions but also for self-checks by individuals.
The sensor costs a few hundred yen to make and can be produced in large quantities. It is expected to take about six years to develop it for practical use, as it is necessary to collect data on the odors associated with various cancers, improve the sensor’s precision and have it certified as medical equipment by the government, according to sources.
Cancer is the leading cause of death among Japanese people, with nearly 400,000 people dying each year. According to a 2014 survey by the Cabinet Office, the medical examination rate for cancer screening in Japan is about 40 percent – said to be about half that in the United States and some European nations.
Major reasons cited for not receiving cancer screening in the survey were having no time; the cost involved; and feeling uneasy about pain. Examinations of people’s exhalations would likely improve the medical examination rate. However, it would still be necessary for people to undergo further examinations at medical institutions to confirm whether they have a disease.
Nippon Medical School Prof. Masao Miyashita, an expert on digestive surgery and cancer, said: “It’ll be epoch-making if such a simple examination of exhalations becomes widely available.
Research on diagnosing various diseases through exhalations started in Europe and the United States more than 10 years ago, and the research has attracted attention in Japan in recent years.
A group of researchers, including some at Kyushu University, submitted a report to a British medical journal in 2011 stating that cancer patients have peculiar odors in their respiration that can be detected by a dog specially trained to sniff out the exhalations of cancer patients.
this is orginally published ndtv