Call for SR&TD Project Grants - 2017
Anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of a protein isolated from Lupinus seeds and its application as functional foods
Ana Isabel Gusmão Lima
Instituto Superior de Agronomia
Agricultural Biotechnology

Other Engineering and Technologies
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Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMP), particularly gelatinase MMP-9 are proteinases highly involved in cancer and pre-cancer inflammatory processes. Although studies strongly relate MMP-9 inhibition to clinical reduction of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBDs) are few, they already suggest that ingestion of MMP-9 inhibitors (MMPIs) can decrease their incidence. Hence, the resource to suitable MMP-9 inhibitor functional foods is quickly becoming a powerful effective strategy for managing IBD-related symptoms, and is predicted to have an important social and economic impact in the near future. Since IBDs are related to pre-cancer stages, such a food-based strategy may be one of the most valid, easy and cost-effective alternatives to prevent cancer incidence in the future. However, targeting MMP-9 through food has been difficult, mostly because of lack of specificity and the lack of resistance to the digestion process.
We have recently identified a promising small protein isolated from a legume species, with an outstandingly potent specific MMP-9 inhibitory activity. This protein is a novel type of MMPI that is edible, proteinaceous in nature, survives the digestion process and may be used as a nutraceutical or as a functional food ingredient. Our major goal shall be to understand its mode of action and to ascertain if it can be used as nutraceutical/functional food ingredient for gut inflammation and colon cancer. The efficiency will be aimed towards a realistic diet approach, both curative as well as preventive. Using a multidisciplinary approach, and a network of on-going collaborations, our main goals will be:
a) establishment of a clean extraction method to isolate this protein from selected edible seeds, that is compatible with nutrition and health, and allows scaling-up;
b) understand dose-response effects and identify molecular targets of the protein in cultured colon cancer cells, using enzymatic and genetic expression approaches;
c) produce food products such as cookies (with and without gluten) and puddings, containing enough bioactive protein to exert the desired beneficial effects in dietary intakes;
d) assess the digestibility,  bioavailability and potential allergenicity from the isolated protein and from the developed food products;
e) test their efficacy in in vitro and in vivo models of inflammation such as colits and enteritis.
As a future outcome, we aim to implement clinical trials with the produced food products for IBD treatment in high risk groups, and to develop a protein supplement with this protein to be administered to colitis and colon cancer-related patients. If success is achieved, an attempted commercial exploitation will be undertaken.
Lupinus seedsMMP-9inflammatory bowel diseasesfunctional foods