MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leyuan Liu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Center for Translational Cancer Research Institute of Biosciences and Technology Texas A&M University Houston, Texas 77030.
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Our research team has been working on the question why people develop cancers and how we can prevent or cure them. In contrast to public views, we concluded from our studies that cancers, similar to our age-related diseases, originate from inefficiencies of our body to clean up cellular wastes accumulated during our lifespan. The most important pathway to clean up those wastes is called autophagy, or cellular self-eating behavior. We study how autophagy is regulated, how autophagy causes cancers, and whether we can control autophagy to prevent or cure cancers.
Previously we found autophagy is regulated by a protein called MAP1S and mice without MAP1S are more likely to develop liver cancer. We have been seeking ways to improve MAP1S-mediated autophagy to prevent liver cancer. Our current study show that spermidine, a natural component existing in many foods, can increase the stability of MAP1S proteins and activate MAP1S-mediated autophagy. Concurrent with the benefits of expand mouse lifespans ours also reported, spermidine can suppress the development of liver fibrosis and liver cancer specifically through MAP1S if we add spermidine into the daily drinking water of mice.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Since spermidine already exists in our body and our foods, we should feel safe to consume more spermidine-enriched foods to prevent cancers. Luckily enough, if you will not suffer from cancers, you may still get the benefit to live longer. In addition, we may need to change the practice of our food processing. For example, the germ in wheat seed contains a lot of spermidine but gets lost during wheat processing.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Our current study is on experimental animals. Directly adding synthesized spermidine to drink or diet for human consumption may need to go through clinical trials. Since we have already known how spermidine prevents liver cancer, other possible alternative approaches to enhance MAP1S-mediated autophagy to prevent cancers will be further pursued.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: We previously reported that increasing MAP1S-Mediated autophagy also help digest mutant protein causing Huntington’s disease. It would be worth to test whether spermidine can help to prevent other diseases.
Yue F, Li W, Zou J, Jiang X, Xu G, Huang H, Liu L*. Spermidine Prolongs Lifespan and Prevents Liver Fibrosis and Hepatocellular Carcinomas by Activating MAP1S-mediated Autophagy. Cancer Research 2017 Apr 6. pii: canres.3462.2016. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-3462.
Yue F, Li W, Zou J, Chen Q, Xu G, Xu Z, Zhang S, Gallinari P, Wang F, McKeehan WL, Liu L* Blocking the association of HDAC4 with MAP1S accelerates autophagy clearance of mutant Huntingtin. Aging 2015 Sep 28; 7(10): 839-53.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Cancer Res. 2017 Apr 6. pii: canres.3462.2016. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-3462. [Epub ahead of print]
Spermidine prolongs lifespan and prevents liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma by activating MAP1S-mediated autophagy.
Yue F1, Li W2, Zou J1, Jiang X3, Xu G4, Huang H5, Liu L6.
Posted on April 21, 2017