July 21, 2009

Trout key to university’s cancer studies

Trout are better models for cancer research than mice or rats, a leading researcher at Oregon State University said.

George Bailey helped found the university's world-class trout research center, which recently completed a study of the effects on tissue of carcinogenic Dibutyl phthalate, used in adhesives, plastics and ink, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Tuesday.

Three decades of aquatic study convinced Bailey, 68, that trout are cheaper to raise and care for than rodents, and have inherently lower cancer rates, which lessens the margin for error in studies, Bailey said.

Trout studies at the university led to the discovery that chlorophyllin, a derivative of the material that makes plants green, renders the carcinogen Aflatoxin harmless, Bailey said. Aflatoxin is of particular concern in developing nations where it's presence on grains and nuts causes high rates of liver cancer.

We can reduce the cancer rate in those people for pennies a day, affecting millions of human lives, and this was discovered because of the rainbow trout, Bailey said.