top of page

Bovine XenomiRs as a Novel Potential Mechanism for Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Initiation and Progression

Project Coordinator: Myrtani Pieri

Affiliation: Human Biology Programme, Department of Health Life Sciences, School of Sciences and Engineering, University of Nicosia


Aims and Objectives

  •  MicroFOOD” focused on a novel hypothesis regarding the molecular mechanisms behind the initiation and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC), one of the most frequent cancers with an unknown pathogenic mechanism. At the same time, this proposal addressed a new and emerging scientific field: the “Dietary XenomiR hypothesis” which, if proven, could revolutionize our understanding of the diet-disease axis.

  • Colorectal cancer is the second most frequent human cancer, totalling over 1.3 million new cases globally and over half a million deaths per year. An increased risk for colorectal cancer has been consistently reported for long-time consumption of red meat with global epidemiological data pointing towards a “beef-specific factor”. To date, this link between beef consumption and colorectal cancer remains elusive.

  • “MicroFOOD” is a proof-of-principle study testing whether selected ingested beef miRNAs have the potential to regulate human genes initiating or adding to the progression of colorectal cancer. MicroFOOD also uses cutting-edge techniques to study for the first time how animal dietary miRNAs are “treated” by the human gastrointestinal tract, in terms of survival and absorption. 


Outcomes - Summary

A strong correlation between red meat consumption and Colorectal cancer is now obvious and cannot be overlooked. The World Health Organization has classified red meat in category 2A. MicroFOOD research project examined whether small RNA molecules from ingested beef can withstand digestion and alter human enterocytes adding to the progression of colorectal cancer.

bottom of page