2017 Participants
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NAME: Nicholas Nolan

Growth-Inhibitory and Anti-Invasive Activity of Natural Non-Pungent Capsaicin Compounds 

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) comprises of a spectrum of lung cancers. Out of these, lung adenocarcinoma (LAC) accounts for about 60% of all NSCLC cases. One of the main challenges of LAC treatment is that by the time the disease is detected the tumor has already invaded into the surrounding tissue, lymph nodes and distant organs.  The long-term goal of our laboratory is to identify dietary compounds, which can suppress the growth and metastasis of human LACs. Specifically, our published data shows that capsaicin (the spicy ingredient of chili peppers) suppresses the invasion of multiple human lung cancers. However, the clinical application of capsaicin is limited by its unpleasant side effects including gut pain, hyperalgesia, stomach cramps and nausea.  This drawback could be circumvented by the identification of capsaicin-like analogs, which retain the anti-tumor activity of capsaicin but do not produce the “heat-sensation” of capsaicin.    Several convergent studies have identified natural capsaicin-like compounds, namely capsiate and capsiconiate, which display similar biological activity of capsaicin but do not possess its pungent side effects. However, the anti-invasive activity of these non-pungent capsaicin analogs is unknown.  Since the invasion of tumor cells is one of the crucial step of metastasis, our data raise the possibility that these non-pungent natural capsaicin-like compounds may attenuate tumor invasion in human LAC. The main aim of this research project is to compare the growth-inhibitory and anti-invasive activity of capsiate, capsiconiate and capsaicin in human LAC cell lines.  Our hypothesis will be explored in the following specific aim:


Specific Aim 1: To compare the growth-inhibitory activity of capsaicin, capsiate and capsiconiate in human LAC cell lines using MTT assays


Specific Aim 2: To compare the anti-invasive activity of capsaicin, capsiate and capsiconiate in in human LAC cell lines using spherical invasion assays


The studies in the present grant may lead to the development of novel non-pungent nutrition-based therapeutic agent for the treatment of metastatic human LAC.