Green Tea has the Potential to Kill Cancer Cells

Green Tea has the Potential to Kill Cancer Cells
Green Tea has the Potential to Kill Cancer Cells
October 8, 2016

The quest for the cure for cancer has been a raging battle for more than three decades. Medical and orthodox practices have been explored in an attempt to find an end to the menace caused by cancer. A study recently conducted by Penn State University’s food scientists has revealed that green tea can kill cancer cells.

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) triggers death in cancer cells

Cancer cells are cells that have lost the normal inhibitory mechanism that controls cell division in the body thus the cells start dividing uncontrollably. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the primary compound found in green tea and they were shown to trigger a process in the mitochondria of cancer cells leading to apoptosis.

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Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) induces death in five mesothelioma cell lines

It is assumed that Epigallocatechin-3-gallate causes formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cancer cells. This compound causes irreparable damage in the mitochondria and in response the mitochondria produces more reactive oxygen specie. Increased damage of mitochondria causes a lower defense in the cancer cell making it susceptible to early death.

Tannins and antioxidants slows spread of mesothelioma

Tannins and saponins are the major components of green leaves. Green leaves also have antioxidants which are good for mopping up free radicals from the body. Free radicals have been associated with cancer. Tannings and antioxidants have been shown to prevent or slow spread of mesothelioma cancer cells.

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The test was carried out in the laboratory

The group from the Penn State University that studied the effect of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate on cancer harvested cancerous cells in a petri dish and exposed them to the compound in a concentration that is nearly as similar to that found in the saliva after an individual has chewed green-tea gum. Intermittently, they checked for oxidative stress in the cells.

Past studies have highlighted the effect of green tea

This is not the first time that researchers have tried to show the anti-cancer potentials of green tea. In 2002, the first study on the topic showed that there was a relationship between green tea and oral cancer. No further explanations were given until 2015 when scientists found the reason why green tea targets cancerous cells specially.

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Further trials will need to be done

Given the success recorded in the laboratory trial, the next step would be to use animals and human subjects to try the process to see if the result found in the lab would be replicated in the models. One of the researchers working on the project, Lambert, said if success is achieved, then it would be possible for scientists to produce a cancer drug that lacks the numerous side effects of the current treatment options.

A large number of Americans are struggling with oral cancer

Statistics has put the number of Americans struggling with oral cancer at about forty-three thousand. Studies also show that about eight thousand lives are lost annually to oral cancer. The currently available treatment options are surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. However, these treatment options are marred by numerous side effects which are lacking with Epigallocatechin-3-gallate.

Green tea has other health benefits

Drinking of green tea is a practice that dates back to centuries. It has also become a part of the culture of many nations especially in Asia to take green tea every day. Drinking green tea is known to increase mental alertness, aid those who want to lose weight by speeding up the process of weight loss, lowers blood cholesterol level and protect the skin from damage caused by radiations from the sun.

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Article highlights

  • Different approaches have been tested in the quest to find a cure for cancer.
  • Green leaves are rich in tannins, saponins and antioxidant.
  • Epigallocatechin-3-gallate is the major component of green tea.
  • Epigallocatechin-3-gallate triggers a process that leads to the death of the mitochondria.
  • A group in Penn State University studied the effect of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate on cancerous cells.
  • Another study in 2002 showed an association between cancer and green tea.
  • The trial will need to be carried out on animal models.
  • About 43,000 Americans are struggling with oral cancer.
  • Green tea is a part of Asian culture.
  • Drinking green tea has other health benefits.

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