The School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh released the exciting results of a recent study that could do wonders for cancer research.

Our findings do suggest that oleic acid can support the production of tumor-suppressing molecules in cells grown in the lab.- Gracjan Michlewski, University of Edinburg

Under the funding of the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, the university’s scientists were analyzing the effect of oleic acid on miR-7, an active cell molecule in the brain and a tumor suppressor that targets critical cancer pathways.
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They discovered that oleic acid, which is found in foods such as avocados, nuts, sesame oil, and of course, olive oil, prevents a cell protein known as MSI2 from stopping production of miR-7.

In stimulating the production of miR, oleic acid helps prevent tumors from forming and may help break them down while they are still small. Researchers made their discoveries while testing on human cell extracts and on living HeLa cells in the lab, proving the proteins in oleic acid to be beneficial to human cells.

Gracjan Michlewski, a professor and researcher at the university’s school of biological sciences and the leader of the study, said that the research suggests that oleic acid could help the production of molecules suppressing tumors and therefore could help prevent and possibly fight cancer.

“While we cannot yet say that olive oil in the diet helps prevent brain cancer, our findings do suggest that oleic acid can support the production of tumor-suppressing molecules in cells grown in the lab. Further studies could help determine the role that olive oil might have in brain health,” Michlewski said.

Michlewski worked alongside Santosh Kumar and Angela Downie Ruiz Velasco on this study.

Given the low survival rate of brain cancer (the five-year survival rate is only about 35 percent), their discovery is no small feat. Further exploration of oleic acid’s impact on miR-7 and other cell molecules will hopefully reveal more about the potential to fight cancer with fatty acids such as those found in olive oil.

The complete study, published in the Journal of Molecular Biology, can be found here.



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