MU researchers find luteolin can reduce risk of breast cancer

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COLUMBIA- MU researchers have found a natural compound that reduces the risk of breast cancer for women who have taken hormone replacement therapy. 

Salman Hyder, professor of biomedical sciences and lead researcher, said breast cancer is more prevalent in women who receive the hormone replacement treatment.

"Research has proven that a higher incidence of breast cancer tumors can occur in women receiving therapies that involve a combination of the natural component estrogen and the synthetic progestin," Hyder said in a news release Tuesday. 

Luteolin, a compound found in herbs and vegetables, monitors stem-cell like characteristics in developing cancer cells. As breast cancer cells take on these stem-cell like characteristics, they become harder to kill. 

When the compound was tested in mice, researchers found reduction in blood vessel formation and stem-cell like characteristics inside the body. For these reasons, Hyder said he thinks direct injection of luteolin could be effective. 

"We feel that luteolin can be effective when injected directly into the bloodstream, so IV supplements may still be a possibility," Hyder said in a news release Tuesday. 

MU researchers will conduct additional studies over the next few years. If the studies are successful, MU will request permission from the federal government to begin human drug development and conduct human clinical trials.