Could broccoli fight cancer? The vegetable’s chemical used in a NEW pill to treat patients
Broccoli pill fights cancer in three ways
Its creators say it could be a “game changer” in treatment.
Tests have shown that the pill, which costs pennies, can fight cancer in three ways – by reducing the chance of it striking, slowing its growth and halting its spread.
Now further tests are planned involving 50 breast cancer patients in Manchester.
Dr Stephen Franklin, chief executive of drug company Evgen, which has created the pill, said: “A wealth of academic research has identified the anti-cancer and neuroprotective properties of sulforaphane, a naturally occurring but highly unstable compound found in broccoli and other vegetables.
“Our exciting Sulforadex technology unlocks the commercial potential of sulforaphane for the first time through the creation of a patented, stabilised version which can be delivered as a tablet or capsule.”
Evgen plans to float on the stock exchange to raise up to £20million to help fund studies with 50 breast cancer patients at The Christie Hospital in Manchester, 90 brain haemorrhage patients in Southampton, and prostate cancer sufferers in the US.
Sulforaphane is found in vegetables of the brassica family, including brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage but is present in particularly high levels in broccoli.
People would, however, need to eat at least 5.5lb of broccoli every day to get a therapeutic dose.
Early research suggests that sulforaphane could damage cancer cells – but this doesn’t mean that eating broccoli can help treat or prevent cancer
Now Evgen has created a synthetic version that can be made into a pill.
Dr Franklin said: “We have harnessed this very exciting molecule…
“It reduces the chance of getting cancer, it also slows down cancer growth and where we are really excited is it halts metastatic disease in animal models.
“I think it could be a game changer.
“The big step forward in cancer treatment will be when we can stop metastatic disease and stop the disease coming back.
“Because sulforaphane kills both cancer cells and cancer stem cells which drive that metastatic disease, we believe it represents the next major step in cancer therapy.”
Dr Hayley Frend, of Cancer Research UK, said: “Early research suggests that sulforaphane could damage cancer cells – but this doesn’t mean that eating broccoli can help treat or prevent cancer.
“We need more studies before we will know if it could be turned into a drug that could help patients – in the meantime it’s clear that a healthy diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, fibre, and low in salt and red and processed meat can help to reduce your risk of cancer.”