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Foods That Kill Pancreatic Cancer Cells, New Research

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2013-08-16 08:36

Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease and a challenge to treat, but two scientists have made an important find regarding components in foods that kill pancreatic cancer cells. All the foods are common ones you can find in any supermarket, but the question is, how can researchers make use of this discovery to help people with the disease?

Which foods kill pancreatic cancer cells?

If you are fan of artichokes, celery, parsley, spinach, olive oil, peppers, oregano, cloves, basil, rosemary, thyme, and peppermint (and yes, let’s not forget red wine), then you already know some of the foods that contain the flavonoids shown to kill human pancreatic cancer cells. Recent studies on this topic was conducted by University of Illinois researchers Elvira de Meijia, professor of food chemistry and food toxicology, and Jodee Johnson, a doctoral student who has since graduated.

One thing they discovered is that the flavonoids apigenin and luteolin have the ability to inhibit an enzyme that is critical in pancreatic cancer. Here is how the researchers made their find.

The experiments involved the use of human pancreatic cancer cells, two chemotherapy drugs (5-fluorouracil and gemcitabine) and the two flavonoids. The cells were treated with the flavonoids as pretreatment and also with the chemotherapy drugs at various concentrations and at different times.

Overall they found that pretreating the cells for 24 hours with either flavonoid, followed by gemcitabine for 36 hours provided 59 to 73 percent inhibition of cell growth. Simultaneous treatment with either flavonoid and either chemotherapy drug, however, resulted in “less-than-additive effects.”

In addition, pretreatment with luteolin followed by gemcitabine significantly reduced expression of certain substances involved in the advancement of pancreatic cancer. Why do these flavonoids help fight pancreatic cancer?

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