The rate of deaths from cancer is increasing and people are wondering why. 

A lot has changed in our lifestyle, environment and food and all of that come together to trigger some form of ailment that even our forefathers never had. 

In some areas of Lagos State for instance, people inhale more smoke than ever before. 

Humans have continued to seek ways to reduce this cancer rate, with research happening in different laboratories, with focus on what could stop cancer.

Efforts dedicated to finding an end to cancer or bringing the rate of deaths down are yielding results and here is just one of them.

Products of omega-3 fatty acid metabolism could inhibit growth of cancerous cells and spread, a study in mice by researchers at the University of Illinois (UI) found.

The molecules, called “endocannabinoids”, are made naturally by the body and have similar properties to cannabinoids found in marijuana, but without the psychotropic effects, the study shows.

In 2017, UI researchers identified a new group of omega-3 fatty-acid metabolites called endocannabinoid epoxides, or EDP-EAs. They found that these molecules had anti-inflammatory properties and targeted the same receptor in the body that cannabis does.

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As cannabis has been proven to have some anti-cancer properties, the researchers investigated whether EDP-EAs also affect cancer cells.

In mice with tumours of osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that is notoriously painful and difficult to treat, EDP-EAs slowed the growth of tumours and blood vessels, inhibited the cancer cells from migrating and caused cancer cell death.

The researchers found that in higher concentrations, EDP-EAs did kill cancer cells, but not as effectively as other chemotherapeutic drugs on the market.

Meanwhile, the compounds also combated the osteosarcoma in other ways: they slowed tumour growth by inhibiting new blood vessels from forming to supply the tumor with nutrients; prevented interactions between the cells; and most significantly, appeared to stop cancerous cells from migrating.

The researchers isolated the most potent of the molecules and are working to develop derivatives that bind better to the cannabinoid receptor, which is plentiful on the surface on cancer cells.

“Dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can lead to the formation of these substances in the body and may have some beneficial effects,” said study leader Aditi Das, a professor of comparative biosciences and an affiliate of biochemistry at UI.

“If you have cancer, you want something concentrated and fast acting, that’s where the endocannabinoid epoxide derivatives come into play.

“You could make a concentrated dose of the exact compound that’s most effective against the cancer.

“You could also mix this with other drugs such as chemotherapies,” Das added

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In the next step, the researchers plan to perform preclinical studies in dogs, since dogs develop osteosarcoma spontaneously, similarly to humans.

They also plan to study the effects of EDP-EAs derived from omega-3 fatty acids in other cancer types.

The study has been published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 

Now that you know, taking nuts and other food with Omega-3 fatty acids could help reduce the chances of tumour growth. 

Sea Foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids are;  

Halibut, Herring, Mackerel, Oysters, Salmon, Sardines, Trout and Tuna (fresh) among others.

In the nuts family are;

Canola oil, Cod liver oil, Flaxseed oil, Mustard oil, Soybean oil and Walnut oil among others.

If you enjoyed reading this and our other stories, please, share with friends and loved ones to help create awareness on how Omega 3 fatty acids can help cancer patients.