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    Cabbage Kills the Tough Cancer Cells

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    Who doesn’t love a good Chinese chicken salad. In a new study, a research team at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, has now discovered that compounds from cruciferous vegetables help to kill cancer cells which are resistant to other treatments.Cabbage is the matriarch of the cruciferous vegetable family, whose members are named for their cross-shaped (crucifer) flower petals. The cabbage family includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and other vegetables.

    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’. 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’ve found that Bcl-2 can’t protect cancer cells against certain isothiocyanates.”

    So help yourself and dig in to that salad, broccoli and other cruciferous veggies.

    The University of Otago New Zealand

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