There is an emerging body of data connecting the ingestion of red meat with inflammatory processes associated with cancer and chronic diseases. Numerous studies have been published describing the relationship between red meat intake and increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. A recent study published in March 2012 in the Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrated that each additional daily serving of red meat was associated with a 12% higher risk of dying of any cause, including a 16% greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 10% greater risk of death from cancer.
A convincing case has been developed by the Varki lab and Sialix to indicate that these sequelae may in part be caused by the inflammatory response elicited by the consumption of non-human Neu5Gc sialic acid. Neu5Gc molecules obtained through dietary intake of red meat and dairy products may be incorporated into glycoproteins onto the surface of human cells. These non-human molecules are viewed as foreign by the human immune system, resulting in a low-grade, chronic inflammatory response. It has been shown that chronic inflammatory reactions such as these can be linked to the development and progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, as well as other chronic disorders.
To that end Sialix is developing a proprietary dietary formulation to dampen or eliminate the immune response induced by Neu5Gc. This approach promises to substantially reduce tissue levels of Neu5Gc and the resulting inflammatory response.
Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein AM, Schulze MB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Hu FB. Red meat consumption and mortality: results from 2 prospective cohort studies. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Apr 9;172(7):555-63.
Banda K, Gregg CJ, Chow R, Varki NM, Varki A. Metabolism of vertebrate amino sugars with N-glycolyl groups: mechanisms underlying gastrointestinal incorporation of the non-human sialic acid xeno-autoantigen N-glycolylneuraminic acid. J Biol Chem. 2012 Aug 17;287(34):28852-64.
Pham T, Gregg CJ, Karp F, Chow R, Padler-Karavani V, Cao H, Chen X, Witztum JL, Varki NM, Varki A. Evidence for a novel human-specific xeno-auto-antibody response against vascular endothelium. Blood. 2009 Dec 10;114(25):5225-35.