(RxWiki News) Many chemotherapy drugs can have side effects as devastating as the diseases they treat, spurring the search for less toxic options. Catechin hydrate (CH), found in green tea and red wine, could one day be used as a safer choice.
A new research study has shown that CH powerfully inhibits the growth of SiHa (a specific cell line that is positive for Human Papillomavirus 16) human cervical cancer cell cultures.
"Talk to your gynecologist about regular cervical cancer screenings."
Authors Ali Alshatwi, Ph.D. and Amal Al-Hazzani, Ph.D., both with the Department of Botany and Microbiology at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, found that catechin hydrate induces apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in the cancerous cell by modulating the expression of specific genes that regulate enzymes controlling apoptosis, or pro-apoptotic genes.
By exposing the cancer cell cultures to different concentrations of CH, Dr. Alshatwi and Dr. Al-Hazzani were able to measure the smallest effective dose that successfully induced pro-apoptotic gene.
Catechin compounds are antioxidant phenolic compounds, and can be found in many plants including the leaves of green tea, grape seeds and skins, acai seed oil, as well as many others. Citing toxicology studies on catechin compounds, Dr. Alshatwi et al claim that catechin hydrate is the least toxic of a very safe class of compounds.
Dr. Alshatwi and Dr. Al-Hazzani's research shows that non-toxic concentrations of catechin hydrate can induce apoptosis in a specific line of cervical cancer cell cultures during closed laboratory conditions.
This is an important first step in developing new methods of treatment, a foundation for other scientists to build on. Eventually CH or some other catechin compound could be developed into a future treatment for cervical cancer, and possibly other cancers as well.
As catechins are hopefully being developed into future cancer drugs, it is important to remember to drink lots of green tea and responsibly generous amounts of red wine, just in case.
This research will be published in the upcoming December 2011 issue of Food and Chemical Toxicology.