Lunasin’s Role in Fighting Cancer (my research paper)

In the article “Lunasin: A promising polypeptide for the prevention and treatment of cancer,” by  Xing Wan and her colleagues, it discusses the importance of peptides which are essentially a chain made up of amino acids; they can also be referred to as “small proteins.”  In brief, it begins by explaining how troubling it is that there is no “satisfactory” therapy for different types of cancer since researchers have a “poor understanding” of the “complicated underlying molecular mechanisms that tie into the formation of cancer” (Xing Wan et al. 1).  All things considered, lunasin, as a protein peptide derives from different products such as barley, rye, wheat, and soybean.  Soybean is seen as the firehouse protein in delaying the further development of cancer.  Without further hesitance, we can learn a lot about lunasin by looking into its structure, characterization, synergistic methods, and advantages in the prevention and treatment of cancer.   

The author’s thesis states that “due to lunasin’s  “potential activity” in the prevention and treatment of cancer, and in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, and polypeptides, including lunasin from soybean, requires further investigation into its medical capabilities.”  By large, “polypeptides” have shown the ability to target specific cells and decrease toxicity in the body.  What sets this protein apart from other drugs, is that it displays high levels of permeability in tissues compared to other “protein-based drugs”  (Xing Wan et al. 1).  Strangely enough, lab tests on rats that were given soybean with high traces of lunasin proved its capability of going after “target tissue” and organs (Xing Wan et al. 3).  On the other hand, in another procedure on mice that consisted of skin tumors brought on by the compound “DMAB”, lunasin was able to reduce the number of tumors already present and further hinder the “generation” of tumors in the skin (Xing Wan et al. 4).

In the meantime, researchers observed that when cells changed from “wild type” to “tumor cells” that lunasin was able to “selectively” kill remaining “tumor cells.”  Presently, it states clearly that “lunasin exhibits fewer side effects than any standard chemo drugs” (Xing Wan et al. 5).  She mentions many studies have confirmed that “oxygen free radicals” which are identified as “any species capable of independent existence containing one or more unpaired electrons” (Ahsan, 1),  contributed to many “degenerative” diseases such as “inflammatory disease,” “Cardiovascular disease,” and “cancer.”  Crucially, lunasin was able to produce anti-inflammatory effects such as “fight off the secretion of MMP’s produced by synovial cells that line the joints involved in rheumatoid arthritis” (Xing Wan et al. 5). 

Initially, lunasin has also worked as an agent in its antioxidant functions through the elimination of the “oxidative damage” of DNA which Dr. Anaya Mandal explains as, “an imbalance between the production of “free radicals” and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful chemicals through neutralization by antioxidants” (“What is Oxidative Stress?”).  Additionally, lunasin is said to “help reduce the production of “reactive oxygen species” through LPS-induced macrophages” (lipopolysaccharide introduced in white blood cells). 

Furthermore, Aspirin and Lunasin were combined as a “synergistic method” to further prevent the growing numbers and giving rise to “apoptosis” which is the death of cells.  However, the “molecular mechanisms” involved in this method between these two drugs still requires further studies and knowledge (Xing Wan et al. 6).  Overall, this natural protein is still enigmatic to researchers.  For instance, “underlying molecular mechanisms” in the prevention and treatment of various kinds of cancers and the “enhanced bioavailability” of lunasin when its administrated orally is still perplexing to experts and it might take decades to find out unknown information (Xing Wan et al. 4).

The author uses several scholarly sources such as the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of Food Science, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, BioMed Research International and much more in doing her research.  She often used medical websites including the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health that has been up to date.  I enjoyed reading this article because it gave me insights on the importance of lunasin in helping obliterate the “proliferation” of cancer.  Knowingly, these sources used have a good reputation in representing the information because the author used academic journals and peer-reviewed scholarly works from people that have conducted tests on this subject.  Accordingly, she dug in deeper by looking at scholarly works on Google Scholars.  From here on, author Xing Wan and colleagues have clearly given credit to their sources by using footnotes to have easy access to the websites and articles. 

Although I was able to summarize the main points in the article without giving extra information—and minor details that are irrelevant to the main idea—sometimes I got lost in the medical jargon that was being used making it harder to get a full grasp.  In other words, I was still able to understand by summarizing the key points without knowing every single medical vocabulary word.  I looked up the important medical terms that I thought were necessary for adding depth to how lunasin affects the body.  I even drew a couple diagrams to help me visualize what certain terms meant; for example, “Free Radicals,” and “lipopolysaccharide.”

Moreover, I agree with the author’s points because I still think that physicians and oncologists need to further research this polypeptide and do more tests to fill in the blanks of how reliable this protein is in altering cancer growth and being used as a treatment.  I think she should have added more information about the “Synergistic methods” and include other drugs that were combined to give a greater effect than just an individual drug.  I like that she included the example of “Aspirin” and “Lunasin.”  Experts should try to combine it with other drugs to seek another outcome.  On the positive side, the details the author provided was well developed since an abundance of information was given when she elaborated presenting each example in the article. 


                                             Work Cited

Ahsan, H, et al. “Oxygen Free Radicals and Systemic Autoimmunity.” Clinical and Experimental Immunology, Blackwell Science Inc, Mar. 2003, Accessed 14 July 2017.

Mandal, MD Dr Ananya. “What Is Oxidative Stress?” News Medical Life Sci ences, 10 Sept. 2015, Stress.aspx. Accessed 14 July 2017.

Wan, Xing, et al. “Lunasin: A Promising Polypeptide for the Prevention and Treat ment of Cancer (Review).” Oncology Letters, Spandidos Publications, 1 June 2017, Accessed 14 July 2017.


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