Lunasin is a peptide found in soy and some cereal grains, which has been the subject of research since 1996 focusing on cancer, cholesterol and cardiovascular disease and inflammation.


Lunasin is a peptide that can be found in soy, barley, wheat,[1] and rye. It is found both in grains originating in the American continents as well as the old world continents.[2] This polypeptide was originally isolated, purified, and sequenced from soybean seed in 1987. Although uncertain about the peptide’s biological activity, the Japanese team of researchers described it as a 43-amino acid peptide, noting specifically the unusual poly (L-aspartic acid) sequence at the carboxyl terminus.[3][4] Subsequent research by Alfredo Galvez in the laboratory of Ben de Lumen at the University of California-Berkeley identified the peptide as a subunit of the cotyledon-specific 2S albumin.[5] The name of the protein was chosen from the Filipino word lunas, which means "cure".[6][7] Lunasin was patented as a biologic molecule in 1999 by de Lumen and Galvez.[8]

Medical research

The biological activity of lunasin was discovered by Galvez while working in the laboratory of de Lumen at UC Berkeley.[9]

There has been much research interest in the biomedical aspects of lunasin but the high cost of synthesizing lunasin made experimentation difficult.[10] This limitation has been overcome by the development of methods to isolate highly purified lunasin from soybean white flake, a byproduct of soybean processing.[11] In laboratory and animal experiments lunasin has shown anti-carcinogenic activity which suggests it may have chemopreventive potential.[12]

ALS Reversal

A recent serendipitous finding is that lunasin may reduce the progressive muscular weakening of ALS. Previously treatment for ALS has been completely palliative. Dr. Rick Bedlack, director of Duke University's ALS Clinic in Durham, NC, found a patient Michael McDuff, who surprisingly was getting better. The cause seemed to be a regimen of lunasin that McDuff started on his own. Currently Dr. Bedlack has started a trial with other ALS patients to see if it works for a large clinically-controlled group of patients.[13][14] A clinical trial is ongoing.[15]

Impact on Epigenetic Changes

Lunasin was the first dietary compound with an identified epigenetic mechanism of action. This mechanism (histone acetylation) was identified by Dr. Alfredo Galvez in 1996 and patented in 1999.


  1. De Lumen, BO (2008). "Lunasin: A novel cancer preventive seed peptide that modifies chromatin". Journal of AOAC International. 91 (4): 932–5. PMID 18727555.
  2. Nakurte, Ilva; Klavins, Kristaps; Kirhnere, Inga; Namniece, Jana; Adlere, Liene; Matvejevs, Jaroslavs; Kronberga, Arta; Kokare, Aina; et al. (2012). "Discovery of lunasin peptide in triticale (X Triticosecale Wittmack)". Journal of Cereal Science. 56 (2): 510. doi:10.1016/j.jcs.2012.04.004.
  3. Odani, S; Koide, T; Ono, T (1987). "Amino acid sequence of a soybean (Glycine max) seed polypeptide having a poly(L-aspartic acid) structure". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 262 (22): 10502–5. PMID 3611081.
  4. Lam, Yi; Galvez, Alfredo; De Lumen, Ben O. (2003). "Lunasin™ Suppresses E1A-Mediated Transformation of Mammalian Cells but Does Not Inhibit Growth of Immortalized and Established Cancer Cell Lines". Nutrition and Cancer. 47 (1): 88–94. doi:10.1207/s15327914nc4701_11. PMID 14769542.
  5. "A novel methionine-rich protein from soybean cotyledon: cloning and characterization of cDNA (Accession No. AF005030)" in "The Electronic Plant Gene Register". Plant Physiology. 114 (4): 1567–9. 1997. doi:10.1104/pp.114.4.1567 (inactive 2015-01-14). PMC 158452Freely accessible. PMID 12223786.
  6. "Lunasin: a Cancer Preventive Peptide in Seeds". University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  7. Galvez, Alfredo F.; Chen, Na; Macasieb, Janet; de Lumen, Ben O. (2001). "Chemopreventive Property of a Soybean Peptide (Lunasin) That Binds to Deacetylated Histones and Inhibits Acetylation". Cancer Research. 61 (20): 7473–8. PMID 11606382.
  8. "Patent: Lunasin peptides, WO 1999015642 A1".
  9. De Lumen, Benito O.; Galvez, Alfredo F. (1999). "A soybean cDNA encoding a chromatin-binding peptide inhibits mitosis of mammalian cells". Nature Biotechnology. 17 (5): 495–500. doi:10.1038/8676. PMID 10331812.
  10. Ortiz-Martinez M, Winkler R, García-Lara S; Winkler; García-Lara (April 2014). "Preventive and therapeutic potential of peptides from cereals against cancer". J Proteomics (Review). 111C: 165–183. doi:10.1016/j.jprot.2014.03.044. PMID 24727098.
  11. Seber, LE, Barnett BW,McConnell EJ, Hume SD, Cai J, Boles K, Davis KR; Barnett; McConnell; Hume; Cai; Boles; Davis (April 2012). "Scalable purification and characterization of the anticancer lunasin peptide from soybean". PLOS ONE. 7 (4): e35409. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...735409S. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035409. PMC 3326064Freely accessible. PMID 22514740.
  12. Hernández-Ledesma B, Hsieh CC, de Lumen BO; Hsieh; De Lumen (April 2013). "Chemopreventive properties of Peptide Lunasin: a review". Protein Pept. Lett. (Review). 20 (4): 424–32. doi:10.2174/092986613805290327. PMID 23016582.
  13. CNN Health November 2016
  14. Dockser Marcus, Amy. "The Mystery of ALS Patients Who See Improvement". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  15. Bedlack, M.D., Ph.D., Richard. "ALS Reversals - Lunasin Regimen". Clinical Trials. U.S. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 30 November 2016.

External links

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