The company's research team reports that the growth of liver cancer cells inside mice was 'successfully suppressed' by soybean protein peptides without side effects. Their findings could lead to future market opportunities for the ingredient.
" We are very hopeful that nutraceuticals will one day succeed as an alternative treatment or ultimate cure," said Shujun Liu, CEO of American Oriental Bioengineering.
Soy is the most widely used botanical by pre- and post-menopausal women but its use by men is also growing as research continues to show the benefits on heart health. In the US, soy sales have grown from $940 million in 1990 to a projected $4 billion this year.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that dietary factors are estimated to account for approximately 30 per cent of cancers in western countries, making diet second only to tobacco as a preventable cause of cancer.
Overweight and obesity are both serious risk factors for cancer. Diets high in fruit and vegetables may reduce the risk for various types of cancer, while high levels of preserved and/or red meat consumption are associated with increased cancer risk. More than 7 million people now die each year from cancer.
Research conducted at American Oriental Bioengineering on the impact of soy protein peptides focused on stopping the growth of the metastatic tumour cells because of their ability to mutate more quickly than normal cells, which gives them a greater ability to adapt to their environment, as well as a greater ability to resist therapy.
"Because the liver is close to or actually connected to several significant organs, and because the liver plays an important role in blood circulation by acting as a filter, metastatic liver cancer occurs in over 75 per cent of all terminal cancer patients," said the firm.
The company's research team discovered that soybean protein peptide extracted from particular species of soybean could effectively inhibit the growth of tumours.
American Oriental Bioengineering uses proprietary processes for producing soybean protein peptides - used in health food products and supplements - rather than traditional extracting techniques.