Thursday, January 08, 2009

Zinc: Does It Fight Prostate Cancer?

For decades, scientists have known that zinc may play a role in keeping the prostate gland healthy. Now, studies at the ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center, Davis, Calif., are revealing new details about how zinc might help fight cancer of the prostate—the second-most common cause of cancer-related deaths among American men.

Laboratory investigations using cancerous and cancer-free human prostate cells indicated that the cancerous cells accumulated less zinc than the healthy ones. That might be explained by another of the team's findings: The cancerous cells had lower levels of ZIP1, a protein that specializes in moving zinc through the membrane that encloses a cell. Although another zinc-ferrying-protein, ZIP3, was present in the cancer cells, it wasn't in the right location to be its most effective.ARS and the National Institutes of Health are funding the research.

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