Researchers at Rutgers University have found that, in animal studies, a synthetic form of active vitamin D has a substantive preventive effect on the development of both estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and ER-negative breast cancers. Unlike many of the other synthetic vitamin D agents that have been tested in humans, this compound, known as Gemini 0097, shows no toxicity, they report.
The research team found that daily injections of Gemini 0097 cut growth of ER-positive cancer by 60 percent in rat studies, and reduced ER-negative breast cancer by half in mice.
" These are very promising findings, especially because no toxicity is observed," said researcher Hong Jin Lee, a graduate student at Rutgers. Lee works in the laboratory of lead investigator Nanjoo Suh, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Suh said that Gemini 0097 likely did not cause the most common vitamin D toxicity, an overload of calcium in blood known as hypercalcemia, because the compound has an extra side chain of chemicals.
" It is quite different from the natural shape of active vitamin D," she said. "Because the binding affinity of Gemini 0097 with vitamin D receptor is low that may contribute to the lower toxicity, but the efficacy stays the same or even better."
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