Cauliflower is a cancer killer
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By Kounteya Sinha, TNN: Are you addicted
to your gobi sabzi? If you're, it augurs well for your health. Cauliflower or
other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli protect against cancer.
Sulforaphane — one of the primary phytochemicals in these vegetables — has been
shown for the first time to selectively target and kill cancer cells while
leaving normal prostate cells healthy and unaffected.
The findings, made by scientists in the Linus Pauling Institute at the Oregon
State University, are another important step forward for the potential use of
sulforaphone in cancer prevention and treatment.
Clinical prevention trials are under way for its use in these areas,
particularly prostate and breast cancer.
It appears that sulforaphane, which is found at fairly high levels in broccoli,
cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, is an inhibitor of histone
deacetylase, or HDAC enzymes. HDAC inhibition is one of the more promising
fields of cancer treatment, and is being targeted from both a pharmaceutical and
dietary approach, scientists say.
"It's important to demonstrate that sulforaphane is safe if we propose to use it
in cancer prevention or therapies," said Emily Ho, a principal investigator in
the Linus Pauling Institute, the study's lead author.
"Just because a phytochemical or nutrient is found in food doesn't always mean
its safe, and a lot can also depend on the form or levels consumed,' Ho said.
"But this does appear to be a phytochemical that can selectively kill cancer
cells, and that's always what you look for in cancer therapies," she added/
The findings were published in the journal "Molecular Nutrition and Food
The research was supported by the National Cancer Institute and National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
HDACs are a family of enzymes that, among other things, affect access to DNA and
play a role in whether certain genes are expressed or not, such as tumor
Some of the mechanisms that help prevent inappropriate cell growth – the
hallmark of cancer – are circumvented in cancer cells.
HDAC inhibitors can help "turn on' these silenced genes and restore normal
Previous studies done with mouse models showed that prostate tumor growth was
slowed by a diet containing sulforaphane.
"It is well documented that sulforaphane can target cancer cells through
multiple chemopreventive mechanisms," the researchers stated in their study.
"Here we show for the first time that sulforaphane selectively targets benign
hyperplasia cells and cancerous prostate cells while leaving the normal prostate
cells unaffected," they said.
"These findings regarding the relative safety of sulforaphane to normal tissues
have significant clinical relevance as the use of sulforaphane moves towards use
in human clinical trials," they added.
The results also suggest that consumption of sulforaphane-rich food are
non-toxic, safe, simple and affordable.
( Courtesy: Times of India
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