Researchers from the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University have shown how an ingredient found in chocolate seems to exert its anti-cancer properties -- findings that might be used one day to design novel cancer treatments. The study, published in the April issue of the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, explains how pentameric procyanidin (pentamer), a natural compound found in cocoa, deactivates a number of proteins that likely work in concert to push a cancer cell to continually divide.
"There are all kinds of chemicals in the food we eat that potentially have effects on cancer cells, and a natural compound in chocolate may be one," said the lead author, Robert B. Dickson, Ph.D., professor of oncology. "We need to slowly develop evidence about the selectivity of these compounds to cancer, learn how they work, and sort out any issues of toxicity."
Chocolate, like many other foods, is the source of many possible anti-cancer compounds, but Dickson stresses that this research, which is part of a series of studies conducted at Georgetown on the chocolate-cancer connection, does not mean that people who eat chocolate will either reduce their cancer risks or treat a current case. Although the study was conducted in breast cancer cell cultures, the finding could potentially apply to other cancers, Dickson said. (The studies are being funded by MARS Incorporated.)
Amy DeMaria | EurekAlert!
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