Vegetable compounds may go beyond prevention
Research at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station has found that diindolylmethane (DIM), a byproduct of the compound indole-3-carbinol, which is formed in broccoli, cabbage, turnips and mustard greens, may be helpful in treating as well as preventing cancer.
Clinical trials of the compounds as a cancer treatment are planned to take place at M D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Steve Safe MD and colleagues studied cancer-preventing compounds found in cruciferous vegetables and discovered that they target a protein known as PPAR gamma, which is highly active in fat cells.
PPAR is also overexpressed in tumors, therefore compounds that prevent cancer may also help treat tumors.
Safe's lab modified DIM to create several patented derivatives that target PPAR gamma. Preliminary research found them to inhibit the growth of cultured breast, pancreatic, colon, bladder and ovarian cancer cells.
Dr Safe commented, "We took advantage of a natural chemical, that research has shown will prevent cancer, and developed several more analogs. DIM is a potent substance. But we made it even more potent against various tumors.
One of the best parts is that this treatment appears to have minimal or no side effects in the mice trials; it just stops tumor growth.
The hope now is that the patented chemicals can be developed into useful drugs for clinical trials and then be used for cancer treatment. It looks promising in cancer cells and animals at this time. We need future studies in humans to see if it is beneficial with people as well.”
Source: Life Extension Foundation LEF.org, 1/04
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