Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find that chocolate compound stops cancer cell cycle in lab experiments

18.04.2005


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.)


Chocolate is made from the beans of cacao trees, and, like some other plants, are rich in natural antioxidants known as flavonoids. These antioxidants may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals, which are thought to contribute to both heart disease and cancer development. The primary family of flavonoids contributing to the antioxidant benefit in chocolate is the procyanidins, and of the various types of procyanidins, pentamer seem to be strongest, according to a number of studies.

Given this, the Georgetown researchers looked at what happened when they used a purified preparation of pentamer on a variety of breast cancer cells, compared to treatment on normal breast cells. They used a variety of tests to find and identify proteins that were deactivated in the cancer cells.

What they located were two well known tumor suppressor genes as well as two other proteins known to be involved in regulating the "cell cycle" -- the progression of a cell from a state of being "quiet" into division and growth. They specifically found that the breast cancer cells stopped dividing when treated with pentamer and that all four proteins were inactivated. Furthermore, expression of one of the genes was reduced.

Dickson notes that "the novel aspect here is that a pattern of several regulatory proteins are jointly deactivated, probably greatly enhancing the inhibitory effect compared to targeting any one of the proteins singly. That is also why the compound seems to work on cancer cells, irrespective of whether any of these single genes are mutated, which often happens in cancer cells."

He adds that the researchers don’t know why pentamer deactivates these proteins simultaneously, stopping the cell cycle. "We don’t know at a fundamental level whether a master switch that triggers cell growth is turned off, or whether the chocolate compound exerts multiple independent effects on diverse cellular processes. That will be the subject of future studies here."

Co-authors of the study from Georgetown University are first author Danica Ramijak, Nicole Thompson, and Linda Metheny-Barlow. Leo Romanczyk from Masterfoods, USA, and other collaborators also contributed.

The full text of the study is available at http://gumc.georgetown.edu/communications/releases/release.cfm?ObjectID=4477.

Amy DeMaria | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.georgetown.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers target protein that protects bacteria's DNA 'recipes'
21.08.2018 | University of Rochester

nachricht Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease
21.08.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Air pollution leads to cardiovascular diseases

21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Researchers target protein that protects bacteria's DNA 'recipes'

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>