The research was possible through a grant
awarded by the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation (formerly
known as the Cancer Research Foundation of America).
Epidemiological data indicate a lower
incidence of cancer-related death in individuals with higher baseline
fasting bilirubin (bile pigment) levels. The laboratory of Dr. Zucker
is examining the effect of this bile pigment on colon cancer cell
growth. Their findings suggest that unconjugated bilirubin induces
apoptosis, or cell death, in colonic adenocarcinoma cell lines through
the direct induction of mitochondrial depolarization and activation of
the intrinsic apoptotic pathway.