On this episode of Lifespan News, Emmett Short talks about a new study that discusses the well-known NAD+ precursor NMN as a potential treatment for triple negative breast cancer.
The most controversial anti-aging intervention… well, not the most controversial. I guess the MOST controversial would be young blood. The second-most controversial, a distant second most controversial anti-aging intervention, NMN or nicotinamide mononucleotide, is back in the news in the fight against breast cancer. But NMN was recently banned by the FDA – a move that could make it almost as hard to get as a blood boy.
Welcome to Lifespan News. I’m Emmett Short. Now, I mentioned NAD, which is important because it plays a role in regulating things like energy production and DNA repair, so like, aging. Basically, having more of it is generally a good thing. Its levels decline with age, and supplementation through precursors like NMN and NR has shown benefits. But, NAD is a double-edged sword. It can also be used as fuel by some cancer cell types. It’s like comedy these days, it mostly gets converted to the best medicine, laughter, but it can also be a career killer. So we’ve got to learn how to use it wisely. You can learn more about the potential legal issues going on with NMN and the FDA in the episode of Lifespan News linked above and in the video description.
Researchers studied the effects of NAD on triple-negative breast cancer, or TNBC, which is notoriously hard to treat because you know it’s triple negative, it cancels itself out and then it cancels itself right back in. That’s just math, and my producer is telling me that is not even close to how it works.
Apparently cells of TNBC lack the three common receptors that are usually found on the surfaces of breast cancer cells. Without these receptors drugs won’t latch on so it’s difficult to target the cells with treatments. But this study showed that continuous use of NMN significantly impeded tumor growth and metastasis in mice. With similar results on cells taken from a human cancer patient.
So, the researchers first did a study in the laboratory (in vitro) to see what would happen when they added NMN to the cells. And what they found was pretty interesting! They discovered NMN increased levels of NAD in the cells really quickly.
But here’s the interesting part – while NMN didn’t affect the growth of the cancer cells, it did slow down their ability to spread and invade other cells. That’s pretty important because spreading and invading is kinda cancer’s schtick.
So how does NMN do this? Well, they sequenced the RNA of the tumor cells and found that NMN activated certain genes that are involved in regulating aging and the body’s antioxidant system. Specifically one of the most important antioxidants we produce, glutathione.
But that’s not all! The researchers also looked at the levels of a protein called SIRT1 and turns out TNBC was associated with lower levels of SIRT1 and that TNBC patients with higher levels of SIRT1 tended to have better survival rates. And when they tested resveratrol, they found that it decreased the spread of TNBC cells but again did not affect their growth. The role that resveratrol plays in SIRT1 activation has been a point of contention in the longevity community, with pioneers like Dr. David Sinclair making some strong statements and others pushing back. This study does seem to support the idea that resveratrol could activate SIRT1, but for more on this controversy, check out this Lifespan News episode from Ryan O’Shea, linked here and in the video description.
Finally, the researchers looked at something called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many harmful free radicals in the body, and it’s been linked to a number of health problems, including cancer. They found that both NMN and SIRT1 acted to decrease oxidative stress and that this might play a role in decreasing the spread of cancer.
What’s more, all this research also seems to be pointing towards SIRT1 and NMN having an impact on a specific protein. That guy. So we’re zeroing in! But this study does make it seem like raising NAD levels through NMN supplementation could prove useful in treating this stubborn subtype of breast cancer.
If you were excited by this and you want to learn more about NMN, check out Lifespan.io, where there’s an entire page dedicated to what you need to know. Make sure to subscribe and click the bell so you can stay up to date on aging research. I’m Emmett Short, and we’ll see you next time on Lifespan News!
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