Dr. David Hoskin
Dietary factors and cancer:
For more than a decade, Dr. David Hoskin has been proving that substances in the foods we eat have powerful anti-cancer effects. From proteins in milk and fish, to phytochemicals found in culinary spices like turmeric, ginger and pepper, these nutrients have the ability to bind with and destroy cancer cells - so adding them to your diet makes sense. Now Dr. Hoskin is learning how taking away a key nutrient can also help in the fight against cancer.
“Iron is becoming widely recognized for its crucial role in cancer development,” explains Dr. Hoskin, who is the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Atlantic Region Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research. “Cancer cells need iron to proliferate and spread - in fact, they steal iron from our bloodstream to fuel their own growth.”
While adequate iron is essential to good health, when cancer is involved, it’s a lot healthier to get rid of excess iron. That’s why Dr. Hoskin has teamed up with Halifax-based biotech firm Chelation Partners Inc. to test iron chelation therapy - drugs that remove excess iron from the system - against breast and connective tissue cancers.
“Iron chelation has been in use clinically for decades, to treat iron overload disorder, so we know it’s safe,” Dr. Hoskin says. “We believe that giving iron chelation therapy prior to chemotherapy will weaken the cancer cells so that a smaller dose of chemo can produce a more dramatic cancer-killing effect - for better results with fewer side effects.”
At the same time, Dr. Hoskin is also working with a peptide that collaborators at Memorial University of Newfoundland have isolated from cod fish. This peptide (a short chain of amino acids), which specifically targets and kills cancer cells, could also be used to enhance chemotherapy and prevent recurrence of cancer.