Genetically modified plants could fight colon cancer

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

New research suggests scientists can use plants to deliver a type of genetic material called microRNA, which can help prevent or suppress cancer. In experiments with laboratory mice that were fed the genes, incidences of colon cancer decreased.

Kendal Hirschi, a professor of pediatrics and human genetics at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, says that though it’s generally understood that the healthiest diet is plant-based, there are a lot of converging opinions about the best bets for optimal nutrition. “We’re playing with this idea that the microRNAs in the plant foods can be these regulators, something that is a bioactive compound that affects our bodies,” he says.

Finding a plant-based solution is an important step in the process, Hirschi explains: “There’s something about the delivery of the nutrients that’s better when we eat stuff out of the plant matrix.”

These “transgenic plants” won’t be ready for at least a couple of years, the scientists estimate. And though GMO foods are controversial, they say this research is likely to transcend the politics. As Hirschi points out, “Who’s going to argue about making a plant to help a patient who has cancer?”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Forget chemotherapy — try some genetically modified lettuce to fight your colon cancer

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