A new study has found that the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) has an anti-tumor function and has proven to dramatically reduce the expression of various types of cancers.

GLA is found in grapeseed oil, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds (raw), olive oil, olives, borage oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil and chestnut oil.

Javier A. Menendez, Ph.D., of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute in Illinois, has found that GLA substantially reduced Her-2/neu protein levels on the expression of the Her-2/neu (erbB-2) oncogene.

Her-2/neu (erbB-2) oncogene is involved in development of numerous types of human cancer.

What is HER-2/neu?
HER-2/neu (also known as HER-2) is a protein that is found on the surface of cells. It sends messages to the cell from ‘growth factors’ outside the cell. Growth factors tell cells to grow and divide.

What does it mean to be HER-2/neu positive?

Everyone has the HER-2/neu protein.

But in some breast cancers, the cells produce many more HER-2/neu proteins than normal.
These cancers are called ‘HER-2/neu positive cancers.’

Cancers that have very few HER-2/neu proteins, or none at all, are called ‘HER-2/neu negative cancers.’
HER-2/neu positive cancers grow faster than HER-2/neu negative cancers.

Oncogene is a gene that causes the transformation of normal cells into cancerous tumor.
Her-2/neu is an oncogene.

Normal cells contain two copies of the Her-2/neu gene and produce low levels of the Her-2 protein.

In about 20-30% of invasive cancers (and some other cancers, such as ovarian and bladder cancer), many more copies of the Her-2/neu gene are produced and its protein is over-expressed (an abnormally large amount of the protein is produced).

Tumors that have this over-expression tend to grow more aggressively and resist hormonal therapy and some chemotherapies, and patients generally have a poorer prognosis.
GLA treatment substantially reduced Her-2/neu protein levels in the Her-2/neu-overexpressing cell lines of this cancer, ovarian cancer, and gastrointestinal tumors.

The lab test to determine if you have a positive or negative HER-2/neu is called Human epidermal growth factor receptor.

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