Newswise — Calcitrol, the active form of vitamin D, has been found to induce a tumor suppressing protein that can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, according to a study by researcher Sylvia Chistakos, Ph.D., of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.
Chistakos, a professor of biochemistry, has published extensively on the multiple roles of vitamin D, including inhibition of the growth of malignant cells found in breast cancer. Her current findings on the vitamin D induced protein that inhibits breast cancer growth are published in a recent issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Previous research had determined that increased serum levels of vitamin D are associated with an improved diagnosis in patients with breast cancer. Prior to the current study, little was known about the factors that determine the effect of calcitrol on inhibiting breast cancer growth, she said.
During the study, Christakos and co-author Puneet Dhawan, Ph.D., examined the protein involved in the action that can reduce the growth of vitamin D in breast cancer cells. "These results provide an important process in which the active form of vitamin D may work to reduce growth of breast cancer cells," said Christakos. "These studies provide a basis for the design of new anticancer agents that can target the protein as a candidate for breast cancer treatment."
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,600 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health on five campuses. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits at UMDNJ facilities and faculty practices at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a statewide mental health and addiction services network.