Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Advances in Cancer Research

Some good news this week for people who are concerned about cancer (which is pretty much everyone, I would imagine). Over the past few days, a number of news articles have come out announcing the latest advances in treating and preventing cancer.

An Apple a Day
First, last Friday, researchers at Cornell University announced that they had found a dozen compounds, called triterpenoids, in apple peel that either inhibit or kill cancer cells in laboratory cultures. Three of the compounds had not previously been described in the literature.

Brush on the Marinade, Hold Off the Cancerous Compounds
Then yesterday, the Food Safety Consortium at the University of Arkansas announced that seasoning grilled meat with certain combinations of marinades and spices could not only improve the flavor, but could help fight cancer. Marinades containing rosemary and thyme had the greatest effect on reducing Heterocyclic amines (HCAs), but two other marinades with different herbs seasonings were tested and found to be almost as effective. The rosemary/thyme marinade also contained pepper, allspice and salt. Another marinade included oregano, thyme, garlic and onion. A third marinade had oregano, garlic, basil, onion and parsley.

Liver Cancer Breakthrough Found
Finally, also yesterday, the AP had an article about a breakthrough in treatment of liver cancer. For the first time, doctors said they have found a pill that improves survival for people with liver cancer, a notoriously hard to treat disease diagnosed in more than half a million people globally each year. Patients on the treatment, sorafenib, survived 10.7 months versus almost 8 months for those on dummy pills.

So good progress on the cancer front from all sides.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this information. I am excited in this time where we same so focused on medications, that two of these studies are focused on primary prevention of cancer! Of note in the first study is the discovery of new phytochemicals in apple peel. I often have people ask me if they do not like fruits and veges, if a supplement could not do the same. My response is frequently to say that there are many phytochemicals in foods, many we have not yet discovered, that probably work together in lowering cancer risk. The second study illustrates how easy it can be to do things that may lower cancer risk...in a way that is actually more aesthetically pleasing! Thanks!

Lynne Eldridge M.D.
Author, "Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time"

Matt Metcalf said...

Thanks for the comments, Lynne. You're absolutely right. Supplements are okay, but generally the food is better. Newer research is showing that you get more benefit out of the same amount of nutrient in food as compared to supplements, indicating that we should just try to eat better rather than trying to take magic pills.