Bitter melon shown to destroy human breast cancer cells
Early research shows that bitter melon, an edible plant that is common in India and China, destroys breast cancer cells. The results of a study conducted on breast cancer cells in the lab showed that bitter melon extract, also sold as a common dietary supplement, produced a chain of events that killed breast cancer cells.
Bitter melon is used to stimulate digestion, control inflammation, and aid constipation and lower blood sugar levels. and is used for cooking, in teas, and to flavor soups. Researcher Ratna Ray, Ph.D., professor in the department of pathology at Saint Louis University studied the fruit to find that it made human breast cancer cells stop growing.
The next step is to test bitter melon extract in mice to see if it can also be developed to help women with breast cancer. If it works, human studies would follow.
According to Dr. Ray, bitter melon extract is not likely to offer a cure for breast cancer, but says, “Our result was encouraging. We have shown that bitter melon extract significantly induced death in breast cancer cells and decreased their growth and spread.
Cancer prevention by the use of naturally occurring dietary substances is considered a practical approach to reduce the ever-increasing incidence of cancer. Studying a high risk breast cancer population where bitter melon is taken as a dietary product will be an important area of future research."
Bitter melon extract, common in China and India could be further developed for breast cancer prevention or treatment. The early study showed that the fruit destroyed breast cancer cells in a controlled lab setting.
Cancer Research, 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-3438