Broccoli chemical kills cancer cells

6 May 2010

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Category: Research & medical benefits

broccoli.jpgA chemical in broccoli can kill breast cancer cells and halt tumour growth, accroding to new research on mice.

Sulforaphane is a naturally occurring chemical found in broccoli. Previous studies have shown it to have positive effects in the reduction of cancer cells. Now a team of scientists have found it works by killing cancer stem cells, resulting in a decrease in growth of new tumours.

To obtain these results, scientists tested different concentrations of sulforaphane on breast cancer cells in mice. The results were promising, showing a significant reduction in the number of cancer stem cells. Consequently they decided to test the chemical on human breast cancer cell cultures. Results showed a 65-80% decrease in the number of cancer cells with almost a 75% reduction in tumour growth.

Researchers stress that the concentrations used in tests would not amount to the equivalent that could be obtained from eating broccoli florets. They are developing ways to extract and preserve sulforaphane in the concentrations needed for medicinal use.