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ID 996

Causes, Mold: Prevention

Description:
In this section learn about inexpensive and safe substances being investigated that may decrease the risk of liver cancer.
Transcript:
Prevention Limiting long-term exposure to aflatoxin – a mold byproduct – can decrease the risk of liver cancer. Scientists are also investigating the use of inexpensive, safe substances that can block the damaging effects of aflatoxin. Click on the forward arrow to find out how a chlorophyll derivative can block aflatoxin action. Thomas Kensler, Ph.D., Bloomberg School of Public Health: “We’ve been investigating several approaches to try and reduce the impact of unavoidable exposures to aflatoxin. One of our approaches has been to use chlorophyllin, which is a derivative, simple derivative of the pigment chlorophyll, which makes our trees green.” “It's actually related to the molecule heme. It's a porphyrin-like molecule with a metal complexed in the middle of it, in this case it's copper, but it forms ionic charge interactions with planar molecules of which aflatoxin is a good example. So there's ionic bonding between the two.” “And the way we believe this molecule works is to actually intercept or form a molecular complex with aflatoxin within our gastrointestinal tract. So, the chlorophyllin and the aflatoxin bind each other up, get passed down the fecal stream. The aflatoxin is never absorbed, never gets to the liver, never initiates the damage that creates our problems.” “We believe that if we can increase the consumption of leafy green vegetables in particular, those that are rich in chlorophyll, that we might be able to reduce the amount of aflatoxin that is absorbed.” Thomas Kensler, Ph.D. is a professor at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research focuses on the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of cancers linked to exposure to environmental carcinogens. This research has led to potential chemopreventative strategies for liver cancer in populations at high risk for aflatoxin exposure. “It's worth pointing out that in our clinical trial we didn't use vegetables to administer the chlorophyllin. We used tablets that contained 100 mg of chlorophyllin and asked our participants to take one tablet 20 minutes before each meal. We then measured for the presence of aflatoxin molecules in their blood and urine and were able to show that those people who took the chlorophyllin tablet instead of a placebo tablet had much lower levels of aflatoxin DNA damage products coming out in their urine.” “There is a lot of interest in discovering new classes of chemopreventative agents, and foods, fruits, and vegetables in particular appear to be a very rich source. So, we know of at least a hundred natural compounds that work through the molecular mechanism that we're trying to target – increased expression of detoxification enzymes. But, there are many other compounds that work through other pathways that also show great promise. And in fact, perhaps, the greatest promise will come in combinatorial approaches where we take agents with distinct mechanisms of action and put them together to really try and knock down the precancerous cells."
Keywords:
leafy green vegetables, john hopkins bloomberg school of public health, pigment chlorophyll, cancer scientists, liver cancer, gastrointestinal tract, aflatoxin, school of public health, chlorophyllin, molecular mechanisms, ionic charge, ionic bonding, porphyrin, complexed, term exposure, byproduct, high risk
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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988. Causes, mold
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997. Causes, Mold: Prevention, Kensler clip 1
Professor Kensler explains their clinical trials in which chlorophyllin was administered as a therapy and the resultant levels of aflatoxin DNA damage products present in urine samples.
994. Causes, Mold: Aflatoxin action
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998. Causes, Mold: Prevention, Kensler clip 2
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