TOKYO, June 28, 2016 – Ajinomoto Co., Inc. (“Ajinomoto Co.”) is conducting research from bench to bedside with the aim of utilization in clinical practice of cystine and theanine, which are both amino acids (hereafter, “Amino Acids Cystine and Theanine”1). In 2014, a group of medical doctors at Sendai Open Hospital (Takashi Tsuchiya, Director), whose research Ajinomoto Co. had been supporting, confirmed a reduction in side effects in the digestive system, such as diarrhea and stomatitis, caused by an anti-tumor drug as well as significant improvement in the completion rate of anti-tumor drug treatment through ingestion of Amino Acids Cystine and Theanine.* Ajinomoto Co.’s Institute for Innovation has clarified this mechanism and reported the results of its research on June 23, 2016 (local time) at the 25th Annual Meeting of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, the world’s biggest supportive care society for cancer, which was held in Australia.
As a result of advances in oral anti-tumor drugs, in recent years it has become possible to conduct anti-tumor drug treatment without hospitalization, while patients continue their work and daily lives. However, with that method of administration, many anti-tumor drugs cause apoptosis of normal intestinal epithelial cells as well as of tumors (direct effect), thus reducing the intestinal barrier function. The intestinal bacteria that enter the body as a result induce an inflammatory response,2 which is thought to then suppress proliferation and induce apoptosis of intestinal epithelial cells (indirect effect), producing side effects in the digestive system such as diarrhea and stomatitis. This often leads to reduction of dosage or discontinuance of administration of anti-tumor drugs, and thus reducing side effects is an issue in anti-tumor drug treatment.
The research reported by Ajinomoto Co. investigated effects of orally administered Amino Acids Cystine and Theanine in mice in which the administration of fluorouracil (5-FU),3 which is the main component of anti-tumor drug TS-1,4 had caused side effects in the digestive system such as diarrhea. In the intestinal epithelial cells of mice that had not been given Amino Acids Cystine and Theanine, apoptosis due to the anti-tumor drug was observed on the day after administration of 5-FU (direct effect) and apoptosis due to inflammatory response was observed four days after administration (indirect effect). On the other hand, when Amino Acids Cystine and Theanine were given, diarrhea symptoms in the mice improved, similar to the results of the clinical study by Dr. Tsuchiya and his group.* Further, the intestinal epithelia of these mice showed improvements in indirect effects due to inflammatory response such as apoptosis and suppression of proliferation (reduction of apoptosis/increase of proliferation) without suppressing apoptosis due to the anti-tumor drug (direct effect).
This finding that ingestion of Amino Acids Cystine and Theanine suppresses apoptosis of intestinal epithelial cells (indirect effect) when administering an anti-tumor drug suggests the possibility that these amino acids can be widely used for reduction of side effects in the digestive system such as diarrhea. Furthermore, it has been reported that ingestion of Amino Acids Cystine and Theanine increases glutathione,6 which has an in vivo antioxidative effect7 and an immunomodulation effect, thus suppressing inflammatory response.
Ajinomoto Co. will contribute to healthy lives by continuing to conduct amino acid research from bench to bedside to resolve issues in clinical practice.
* Announced at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of Clinical Oncology (August 2014)
About Ajinomoto Co.
Ajinomoto Co. is a global manufacturer of high-quality seasonings, processed foods, beverages, amino acids, pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals. For many decades Ajinomoto Co. has contributed to food culture and human health through wide-ranging application of amino acid technologies. Today, the company is becoming increasingly involved with solutions for improved food resources, human health and global sustainability. Founded in 1909 and now operating in 27 countries and regions, Ajinomoto Co. had net sales of JPY 1,185.9 billion (USD 9.87 billion) in fiscal 2015. For more about Ajinomoto Co. (TYO: 2802), visit www.ajinomoto.com.
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