Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
There is the saying that “you are what you eat,” and it rings particularly true for a recent study done by researchers at the University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center. Scientists from the center recently conducted clinical trials that demonstrated certain properties in rice bran that can help prevent cancer. Along with those findings, the team of investigators is also currently completing a clinical trial on the effectiveness of rice brain in terms of stopping colon cancer recurrence.
The findings of the study on rice bran were recently published in the journal Advances in Nutrition, a collection of articles on research in nutrition in order to promote better health and prevention of diseases.
“While I have been trained as a molecular toxicologist, I am excited about the opportunities to deliver bioactive, cancer fighting compounds with food, and this has led to my focus now primarily on the multiple drug-like characteristics of rice bran,” explained the study´s senior author Elizabeth P. Ryan, an assistant professor of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center, in a prepared statement.
“There´s a delicate balance of bioactive components in rice bran that together show anti-cancer activity including the ability to inhibit cell proliferation, alter cell cycle progression and initiate the programmed cell death known as apoptosis in malignant cells.”
Based on the results of the study, the researchers believe that rice bran can produce small molecules such as ferulic acid, polyphenolics, tricin, tocotrienols/tocopherols, phytic acid, β-sitosterol, and Î³-oryzanol. Past studies have also shown that certain bioactive components in rice bran can help to develop conditions in nearby tissues that boost the function of healthy cells while curbing the activity of cancer cells. As a result, there is less chronic inflammation of tissue.
“We´re working now to tease apart the ratios of these active molecules required for bioactivity and mechanisms. Previous attempts to isolate one or another compound have been largely unsuccessful and so it looks now as if rather than any one compound giving rice bran its chemopreventive powers, it´s the synergistic activity of multiple components in the whole food that should be studied,” commented Ryan, who also serves as a CU Cancer Center investigator, in a statement.
With the study, the scientists hope to learn more about the possible anti-cancer immune response of rice bran. They plan to take the next step forward in the research project by looking at how rice bran can be adapted to prescription medication. They also hope to observe the chemopreventive effectiveness of rice bran on colon cancer survivors in a clinical trial.
“There are well over 100,000 varieties of rice in the world, many with their own unique mix of bioactive components and so one major challenge is to discover the optimal composition for chemoprevention. Another challenge is ensuring that people consistently receive the required daily intake amount or ℠dose´ needed to demonstrate these chemo-protective effects,” explained Ryan.
“That said, rice is an accessible, low-cost food in most places of the world, and so work with rice bran as a dietary chemopreventive agent has the potential to impact a significant portion of the world´s population.”