Soy contains a variety of phytochemicals with demonstrated anticancer activity, including protease inhibitors, phytate, phytosterols, saponins, and isoflavones. Soybeans also contain bioactive proteins that exhibit anticancer activity including lectins and the most recently discovered peptide lunasin. By its involvement in allowing or denying access to genes for transcription, acetylation is pivotal in the process of turning genes on and off. Lunasin has a binding affinity for regions of nucleosomes that are not fully acetylated. The negatively charged amino acids of Lunasin have a natural attraction to positively charged amino acid in histones. During acetylation, the positive charge on histones is neutralized. When this occurs, genes involved in cell proliferation (e.g. oncogenes) are "turned on" or activated, resulting in tumors or cancer. Lunasin can bind to hypoacetylated histones (histones that still have the positive charge) in different regions of chromosomes, blocking or preventing their acetylation. This blocking action helps keep cancer related genes switched "off".
The chromatin binding affinity of Lunasin is believed to be the underlying mechanism responsible for the cancer-preventing property of Lunasin. A series of studies strongly suggests that chromatin modification is linked with tumor suppression pathways. When delivered to the proper target tissue Lunasin may play a role in preventing or "silencing" the expression of genes that lead to tumor formation, intervening primarily at the initiation and promotion-and possibly other stages of carcinogenesis.
Related Links About Soybeans
Epigenetics: A New Frontier in Cancer Research
Soy Cream's Health Benefits
Your Genomic Diet
Soy Peptide Plus Chemo Drug Block Colon Cancer's Spread to Liver, Study Finds