Ah, the holidays…… the family gathered ’round the table laden with food and the beautiful turkey, ready for Dad to carve after everyone gives thanks. 

Cut, to an hour later with a huge mess, full bellies, Uncle Jimmy snoozing in the chair with the bowl game on the TV and tryptophan as the culprit for the snoring. Tryptophan, however, may be wreaking a different kind of havoc in Aunt Sue.

When healthy triple negative breast cancer cells become detached from their foundation they typically go through a death process without a pathway to evade the process and move to other locations within the body. The speed of the pathway, called the kynurenine pathway, can be altered by an enzyme that is over expressed in cancer cells. This same pathway is also responsible for degrading the amino acid tryptophan, so the pathway is sped up not only by the cancer cell but the tryptophan allowing the cancer cells to escape death but move around the body. 

Does this mean anyone who has cancer should avoid turkey? Not according to one of the paper’s author but I think I will stick to the prime rib this season. 



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