A compound in broccoli and kale helps suppress tumor growth
ISLAMABAD (Online): Researchers from Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA, saw that the compound indole-3-carbinol (I3C) impeded tumorgrowth in a mouse model of prostate cancer.
In a Science study paper, they explain that I3C promotes PTEN, a tumor suppressor protein “whose activity is often decreased in human cancers.”
The team found a molecular pathway in which the protein WWP1 alters and weakens the tumor suppressor PTEN. WWP1 is active in several human cancers.
However, their investigation reveals that I3C can inactivate WWP1 by switching off its gene. This unleashes the full power of PTEN to restrict tumor growth.
“We found a new important player that drives a pathway critical to the development of cancer,” says senior study author Dr. Pier Paolo Pandolfi, Director of the Cancer Center and Cancer Research Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
He suggests that the pathway is “an Achilles’ heel [that] we can target with therapeutic options.”
Cancer arises when abnormal cells grow out of control, invade tissues, and spread. The malignancy can affect nearly every part of the body.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer caused 9.6 million deaths in 2018, and its economic impact is rising. In 2010, the total cost of cancer worldwide was around $1.16 trillion.
There are more than 100 types of cancer, each depending on the type of cell that it starts in.
Scientists have also identified six hallmarks of cancer at cell level. These work by sustaining growth signals, avoiding tumor suppression, escaping cell death, promoting endless replication, setting up a blood supply, and triggering invasion and spread.
There is a growing need for new and cost-effective drugs to treat cancer. Researchers are increasingly turning to the plant world in search of natural compounds that might meet this requirement.