Conjugated linoleic acid may fight breast cancer by stopping the formation of new blood vessels, needed by breast cancer cells to gather nutrients, according to a new study.

The formation of new blood vessels is called angiogenesis and is needed by the cancer cells to stay alive and expand inside the human body.

A cow produces CLA when micro-organisms in its rumen break down feedstuffs containing linoleic acid.

"It appears to be an anti-angiogenic compound and a nontoxic one," Margot Ip, study leader at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. told the Health Scout News.

Ip presented her findings last week at a meeting of the U.S. Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program in Orlando. .

Ip said CLA seems to prevent one class of flexible mammary cells, called stromal cells, from becoming vessels that can feed tumors that form in the milk ducts. Instead, it encourages these cells to convert into harmless fatty tissue.

According to Jack Vanden Heuvel, a molecular toxicologist at Penn State University who studies the chemical, CLA is known to have other anti-cancer properties, but those properties are hindered by many of the other fats.

"CLA is just one type of fatty acid that's in all those foods that are high in fats, and on balance they're bad," Vanden Heuvel told Health Scout News.

Efforts to gain higher concentrations of CLA in meat and milk are ongoing.

Health Scout News