Narrator: This is Science Today. Soy has long been touted as a cancer preventative and now there's some scientific evidence supporting this. University of California, Berkeley researchers discovered a gene in soybeans which produces a protein that has an anti-cancer effect. Alfredo Galvez, an associate professor in nutritional sciences, says when injected the protein, called lunasin, stopped cell division in both normal and cancer cells.
Galvez: So for it to be used as a therapeutic drug, then we have to have a way of targeting mainly cancer cells. So that's the challenge right now for the use of lunasin, is to combine it with a good targeting system, so that it can only seek out cancer cells and kill it.
Narrator: Lunasin's effects were similar to the anti-cancer drug Taxol, but Galvez says lunasin has an advantage.
Galvez: If we want to produce the protein in large amounts or even to modify it, it's easier to do that because we have the gene for it. Unlike Taxol, where you have to extract the compound from the bark of an endangered Pacific yew tree, you're actually limited in terms of producing the compound.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.