Washington State University: Soy Isoflavones Improve Postoperative Treatment for Bone Cancer

Soy isoflavones reduce the number of cancerous cells and inflammation according to a study done by researchers at Washington State University.



Soy is believed to help fight obesity, improve the chances of survival from breast cancer, and protect women from post-menopausal osteoporosis. These are not the only benefits of this plant protein. According to research from Washington State University, it can be very effective in the postoperative treatment of bone cancer. Its findings were published in the specialized journal Acta Biomaterialia.

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Painful treatment

Bone cancer is rare and affects mainly young adults and children. Relapses are common despite medical advances. Currently, treatment is based on surgery to remove the tumor and pre and post-operative chemotherapy. Parts of the bone are often removed and replaced with implants, causing painful inflammation in patients. The goal of the researchers at Washington State University is to find less painful treatment options.

Alternative techniques for treating bone cancer

In this study, they used 3D printing to create bone-like implants for patients with the disease. Inside the pieces, they incorporated three chemicals from soy. They placed them in samples that contained cancer cells. After 11 days, one of the compounds reduced the viability of the cancer cells by 90%. The other two increased the growth of healthy cells.

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Tests of this technology on animals have shown a decrease in inflammation, which researchers believe is beneficial for both bone health and recovery. For scientists, these results are an important step towards allowing “the use of synthetic bone grafts as a tool for drug delivery,” says the co-author of the study Susmita Bose. “By using these natural treatments, it is possible to act on human health with very few or no side effects, even though one of the current challenges is controlling their composition,” she explains.

Beware of contraindications

For some people, soy consumption is strictly discouraged. As soy has a high concentration of isoflavones, a substance close to estrogen, which can cause interactions with drugs. Therefore, soy supplements are not recommended for people with a history of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer, for men with prostate problems, and for children and pre-adolescents whose bodies are sensitive to estrogen.

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Controlled release of soy isoflavones from multifunctional 3D printed bone tissue engineering scaffolds

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