A new study has shown that certain nutrients play an important role in the development of leukemia in children. This is especially true of an amino acid called valine.
The molecular building block of many animal proteins, the amino acid valine, plays a key role in the development of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children. This is the conclusion reached by researchers from the University of New York. Their work showed that the genes involved in the use of valine in cells are more active in malignant cells than in normal ones. And blocking these valine-related genes not only led to a decrease in the amino acid level in leukemic blood T cells, but also stopped the growth of tumor cells in the laboratory.
Only 2% of malignant T-lymphocytes remained viable after blocking valine-related genes. Experiments have also shown that mutations in the DNA code of the NOTCH1 gene, which are most often observed in patients with leukemia, partially contribute to the growth of cancer by increasing valine levels.
This study included experiments with human leukemia cells grown in the laboratory and transplanted into laboratory mice. After that, they developed blood cancer, which originates in bone marrow leukocytes. Further experiments showed that if mice with leukemia were fed food with a low valine content for three weeks, this interrupted the growth of the tumor and somewhere also reduced the number of cancer cells circulating in the body by at least half (in some cases even to an undetectable level). Repeated introduction of valine into the diet led to the progression of cancer.