(dailyRx News) Many believe that green tea extracts have healing properties and health benefits. But how does tea fit into cancer research? With the right technology and some luck it may be able to shrink tumors.
A new study tested a delivery system of a green tea extract on mice.
The extract, called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), generally fails to reach tumors by other methods.
However, when attached to a specific protein the extract causes some tumors to shrink. But since this was a mouse study, we may need to wait years before it would benefit humans.
"These are very encouraging results which we hope could pave the way for new and effective cancer treatments,” said Christine Dufès, PhD, a senior lecturer at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences.
"When we used our method, the green tea extract reduced the size of many of the tumours every day, in some cases removing them altogether. By contrast, the extract had no effect at all when it was delivered by other means, as every one of these tumours continued to grow.”
The researchers placed the EGCG extract in tiny air pockets called vesicles with a protein known as transferrin. Many cancers contain receptors for transferrin, which makes it an ideal method for delivering EGCG to the tumors.
The researchers gave the EGCG extract and transferrin to the mice through a shot and observed that approximately 40 percent of the tumors disappeared completely within 30 days. An additional 20 to 30 percent of tumors shrank while another 10 percent of tumors stopped growing but did not shrink.
Also, there was no immediately apparent damage to the healthy tissue that surrounded the tumors.
It will be years before this type of treatment is available to humans, but the researchers believe that this treatment could lead to a breakthrough in available treatment methods.
"This research could open doors to new treatments for what is still one of the biggest killer diseases in many countries," adds Dufés.
The study was published online February 21, 2012 in the journal Nanomedicine and was funded by the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Wellcome Trust. The study authors claim to have no other relevant affiliations or financial conflicts of interest.