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July 10th, 2008
The zein protein, a byproduct in the production of ethanol from corn, might someday help women in the fight against breast cancer, according to research being conducted at the South Dakota State University College of Pharmacy in Brookings, S.D.
Omathanu Perumal, assistant professor in pharmaceutical sciences at SDSU, said that while zein is predominantly used today as a moisture barrier coating in pharmaceutical tablets, candies, and paper products, it can be used in its nanoparticle form to deliver cancer drugs to cancer cells while bypassing healthy cells. He said initial tests using zein have produced "very promising" results in delivering the cancer-fighting drug Doxorubicin into breast cancer cells. According to the drug information provider Gold Standard, Doxorubicin is a chemotherapy drug used to treat a number of cancers, including bone, breast, stomach, lung, bladder, thyroid, ovarian, as well as leukemia, Wilms' tumor, and lymphoma.
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