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Vegetables Attack Cancer Cells

Armen Hareyan's picture

Cancer Treatment and Vegetables

One of the most complex medical challenges is to find the right mix of drugs to kill cancer tumour cells. A research team at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, has now discovered that compounds from cruciferous vegetables such a broccoli, brussels sprouts and watercress help to kill cancer cells which are resistant to other treatments.

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The researchers led by Dr Mark Hampton from the Free Radical Research Group have recently had their ground-breaking study published in the American journal 'Cancer Research'. Other members of the team that contributed to the research are Kristin Brown, Dr Susan Thomson and Dr Juliet Puller.

The University of Otago researchers have shown that naturally occurring chemical compounds known as isothiocyanates, found in cruciferous vegetables, cause cell-suicide in cancer cells, including cells that have high levels of the protein Bcl-2.

"The reason the Bcl-2 protein is dangerous is that it makes cells resistant to the normal cell-suicide or apoptosis process, that is vital for removing damaged cells from the body," explains Dr Hampton. "A cancer cell with a lot of Bcl-2 has increased resistance to chemotherapy drugs that are used to destroy the tumour. We have