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Potential Clinical Applications of Multi-functional Milk Proteins and Peptides in Cancer Management

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The progression of cancer involves multiple changes that alter intracellular signaling to promote cell proliferation. Subsequent remodeling of the tumor microenvironment enhances metastasis by manipulating the immune system. Research in the past decade has shown that milk proteins and peptides are often multi-functional, exerting activities such as anti-microbial, immunomodulatory, cancer cell apoptosis, anti-metastasis, and antioxidant effects. Several milk-derived biologics, such as HAMLET (human α-lactalbumin made lethal to tumor cells) and the human recombinant form of lactoferrin, already demonstrated promising results in clinical trials. Lactoferricin peptide analogs are in early clinical development as antimicrobial agents and cancer immunotherapies. In addition, milk proteins and peptides are well tolerated and many exhibit oral bioavailability; thus they may complement standard therapies to boost overall success in cancer treatments. Lactoferrin, colostrum, and specific milk-derived peptide fractions are currently being developed as clinical nutrition for cancer prevention and chemotherapy protection. This review highlights the potential applications of milk proteins and peptides as pharmaceutical drug candidates and clinical nutrition in the overall management of cancer.
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Keywords: Apoptosis; cancer; clinical nutrition; immunomodulatory; milk; peptides; therapeutics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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