News / Health

New Test Identifies Disease-Promoting Protein

x
Jessica Berman
Strong scientific evidence suggests high levels of a protein in the body may increase the risk of heart attack, cancer and other diseases.  U.S. regulators have approved a test for the protein that could be useful in determining the risk of these diseases and their prognosis.

Galectin-3 is a molecule normally found in small amounts in cells, tissues and circulating blood.  It works with the immune system to promote tissue repair, but too much of the protein can cause harmful inflammation that is involved in heart disease, cancer and kidney disease.

U.S. regulators have approved a blood test to check for elevated blood levels of galectin-3.  It has only been approved for heart failure.  

But Isaac Eliaz, who supplements his medical training with alternative therapies, predicts the galectin-3 test will soon be used by doctors as frequently as a routine test that checks for levels of c-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation.  

Eliaz believes the galectin-3 test will warn physicians of serious health problems brewing in their patients years before they develop.

“You can see galectin-3 [levels] high in patients who are completely healthy, but you know that it is a time bomb," said Eliaz.  "And if you watch them for a few years, if you do not take care of them, they will start showing up with rising with c-reactive protein and serious illnesses.”

Studies have shown that galectin-3 can promote cancer development and growth by helping cancerous cells create colonies or tumors.

The protein, Eliaz explains, leads to angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels that feed the original cancer colony and allow it to spread.

But there is a compound that can block the effects of galectin-3 and improve treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases, according to Eliaz.  It is the tough pulp inside orange rinds and other citrus fruit called citrus pectin.

While the pectin molecules are too large to be absorbed by the body and are normally eliminated through the digestive tract, Eliaz says a modified form of the pectin can be absorbed, limiting the harmful effects of galectin-3.  

“So if you can block galectin-3, you are taking away this inflammatory marker," Eliaz noted.  "If you can prevent the scarring of the tissue, you are preventing aging, definitely.”

He says, if taken as part of a healthy lifestyle, the modified pectin will help prevent many diseases of aging, as well as cancer and heart disease, and improve cancer treatment.

Modified pectin is available as a supplement at health food stores.

Isaac Eliaz’s comments were made at the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid