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Doctors and those in biomedical science jobs have long been searching for a definitive treatment to help treat breast cancer, but new findings have concluded that a key weapon in this cause could be sitting in a grocery shop or supermarket.
A study at the University of Missouri found that a substance known as apigenin, commonly found in celery, can be an integral part of calming an aggressive tumour that is growing within a patient's body. The team of researchers at the university discovered that when extracted from natural foods such as celery and parsley, apigenin was effective at shrinking a tumour which is brought on by a synthetic hormone given to women going through the menopause, known as progestin.
The treatment is another effective way of treating breast cancer but this is more beneficial as it is a non-toxic method of combating the condition. According to NHS figures, breast cancer is a highly prevalent condition in the UK with an average of 46,000 women being diagnosed with it every year. Of this figure, eight out of ten are under the age of 55, and while breast cancer is rare in males there is still a possibility of contracting the condition.
In a study on mice, co-author Salman Hyder and his team, implanted cells known as BT-474, a deadly, fast-growing human form of breast cancer and then a selection were also implanted with medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), a type of progestin used in the treating of menopause.
Over a period of time the MPA mice were injected with the apigenin, and while the cancer still raged in those that had not received this treatment, the section of mice that received apigenin saw the cancer growth slow to the level of the control group and the tumours began to shrink. Despite this success, Mr Hyder claimed that it was still difficult to test apigenin in humans.
He said: "Apigenin doesn’t have a known specific target in the cancer cell, funding agencies have been reticent to support the research. Also, since apigenin is easily extracted from plants, pharmaceutical companies don’t stand to profit from the treatment; hence the industry won’t put money into studying something you can grow in your garden.”
written by Angela Newbury
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