Research led by the University of Texas at Arlington reveals how zinc can target esophageal cancer cells and halt their growth, thereby bringing us closer to new prevention and treatment strategies for the disease.
Zinc is a mineral present in a variety of foods – including oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, and whole grains – and it is also available as a dietary supplement.
Zinc is one of the body’s essential nutrients. Not only is it important for fetal and childhood development and sense of taste and smell, but the mineral also aids cell functioning, wound healing, and helps our immune system to stave off infection.
Previous studies have identified zinc deficiency in patients with esophageal csancer, indicating that the mineral may also help to protect against the disease.
However, the molecular mechanisms underlying zinc’s potential anti-cancer effects have been a mystery – until now.
Zinc, calcium, and esophageal cancer
Study leader Zui Pan, of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at the University of Texas at Arlington, and colleagues found that zinc targets and blocks a specific calcium channel in esophageal cancer cells, preventing them…