Monday, 27 July 2015

Green Tea Ingredient may Help Kill Oral Cancer Cells


A recent study could pave the way for a new and novel treatment for oral cancer and other neo-plastic disorders that afflict the mankind. This was disclosed by a group of food scientists from Pennsylvania State University. They have found out that green tea content may activate a natural procedure that kills oral cancer cells. This procedure is so specific that it leaves other normal cells intact.

green tea

Green Tea Ingredient

In the past, many studies were conducted on the green tea properties that make the beverage so popular among the health-conscious people across the world. Such studies revealed that a compound known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is found in the green tea. This active ingredient was found to carry a property to destroy oral cancer cells, leaving alone the healthy oral cells. The new study worked along the same path to find the underlying process that causes the death of cancer cells selectively.  After a period of research, they were able to find the process that causes cell death.

epigallocatechin-3-gallate EGCG

Mechanism of Action

EGCG seems to damage the mitochondria of the cancer cells by some unknown action.  This mitochondrial damage in turn sets up a vicious cycle causing more damage to the cell interiors, affecting other organelles in it. This triggers the cell to undergo programmed cell death. This mechanism of action was described by Joshua Lambert who is an associate professor of food science and co-director of Penn State’s Centre for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health. The researchers have been able to peek into the causative agents for the damage. From whatever technical data they could lay hands on, they speculate that the said compound EGCG might be generating oxygen free radicals in cancer cells, which in turn damages the lipid bi-layers of mitochondria. When the lipid undergoes change, it generates more reactive oxygen species, giving more fodder for the intra-cellular damage. With this continual mitochondrial death, the cancer cell also decreases the expression of anti-oxidant genes, thus lowering its defences.

action mechanism

Thuruvananthapuram Pennsylvania, USA