Green tea and the fight against cancer
Brunel scientists, working with University College London, have discovered that chemicals in green tea can slow the growth of cancer.
The researchers investigated the effects of “catchetins” extracted from green tea leaves on one of the most fatal forms of childhood cancers, neuroblastoma. They found that the catchetins helped suppress the cancer by boosting the body’s own anti-tumour response.
The study was funded by the children’s medical research charity, Sparks. It is hoped that this research will lead to the development of less toxic treatments for children with cancer.
Dr Arturo Sala said: “Aggressive neuroblastoma can be one of the most difficult cancers to treat in children and new non-toxic approaches are needed. Green tea extracts are currently being used in clinical trials for adult the US and could be potentially useful in children with neuroblastoma as well as other cancers.
“We’ve found that the extract acts to stop the neuroblastoma cancer producing a type of cell known as myeloid suppressor cell, which prevents the immune system from attacking tumours. I sincerely hope our efforts have helped unlock new non-toxic methods to boost the body’s innate defence against neuroblastoma”
The research team is now looking to begin clinical trials in which Polyphenon E, a clinical grade catechin extract of green tea leaves, will be combined in treatments for children with relapsed neuroblastoma or who are undergoing cancer immunotherapy.