EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE | Tue Aug 21 16:42:03 EDT 2012

Scientists find protein that promotes cancers, heart disease; create substance to block its effects

Note to journalists: Please report that this research was presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 21, 2012 — Strong scientific evidence suggests that high levels of a blood protein called galectin-3 may increase the risk of heart attacks, cancer and other diseases, and help forecast the outcome of those diseases, a scientist reported here today at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

Isaac Eliaz, M.D., who outlined the scientific case against galectin-3, said a new galectin-3 blood test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can be useful in determining the risk and prognosis of numerous diseases. His presentation also included evidence that modified citrus pectin, produced from the white pulp inside orange peel and other citrus fruit, can bind and block excess galectin-3 activity.

The body cannot absorb natural citrus pectin, which passes through the GI tract undigested, Eliaz explained. Modification permits its absorption into the blood, where it blocks the negative effects of galectin-3, he added.

Eliaz said his conclusions were based on evidence from clinical trials involving close to 8,000 people.

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Half peeled orange
A modified form of the white pulp inside oranges
and other citrus peels can block galectin-3, a
protein linked to disease.