Could Broccoli Prevent Cancer?!
She may of not known it, but when your mother used to make you eat at all your greens at dinner, she may have been keeping you cancer-free. A new study has found that an extract from cruciferous vegetables - such as broccoli, cabbage and garden cress - may help mitigate the effects of environmental carcinogens.
That's at least according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the UPMC Cancer Center, who recently announced the preliminary results of new and surprising research at the American Association for Cancer Research's (AACR) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.
According to the researchers, their work was inspired by past studies and anecdotal evidence indicating that cruciferous vegetables with a high concentration of sulforaphane helps prevent cancer. To determine if this was true, lead author Julie Bauman, co-director of the UPMC center, worked alongside Daniel E. Johnson of the UPCI Head and Neck Cancer Program. The pair administered sulforaphane to mice predisposed to oral cancer and quickly found that it significantly reduced the likelihood that cancer would develop, when compared with an untreated group.
"The clear benefit of sulforaphane in preventing oral cancer in mice raises hope that this well-tolerated compound also may act to prevent oral cancer in humans who face chronic exposure to environmental pollutants and carcinogens," Johnson said in a statement.
The sulforaphane extract used - juice derived from broccoli sprout extract - was then tested in a controlled experiment on 10 healthy volunteers. These initial tests revealed that this natural extract is perfectly safe for human consumption, with no adverse effects detected.
These results will now allow researchers to move to human clinical trials, where they hope to recruit 40 participants at high risk for head and neck cancer recurrence later this year.
"People who are cured of head and neck cancer are still at very high risk for a second cancer in their mouth or throat, and, unfortunately, these second cancers are commonly fatal," Bauman explained. "So we're developing a safe, natural molecule found in cruciferous vegetables to protect the oral lining where these cancers form."
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