Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Food Compounds That Kill Test-Tube Cancer Cells Analyzed

Date:
March 10, 2008
Source:
US Department of Agriculture
Summary:
Strawberries, grapes, blueberries and some familiar seasonings like rosemary contain compounds that can--in test tubes--kill cells of a childhood cancer. Molecular biologists are working to understand exactly how the powerful plant chemicals fight the disease known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Investigations provide some new clues about how phytochemicals attack cancer cells. Phytochemicals interfere with the orderly operations of mitochondria, the miniature energy-producing power plants inside cells.

Some fruits and vegetables like these strawberries have natural chemicals that can destroy leukemia cells in laboratory tests.
Credit: Brian Prechtel, USDA

Strawberries, grapes, blueberries and some familiar seasonings like rosemary contain compounds that can—in test tubes—kill cells of a childhood cancer. Nutrition-focused research by molecular biologist Susan J. Zunino of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Western Human Nutrition Research Center (WHNRC), Davis, Calif., may reveal exactly how the powerful plant chemicals fight the disease known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Related Articles


Zunino's current studies build upon her 2006 findings about the ability of carnosol from rosemary; curcumin from turmeric; resveratrol from grapes; and ellagic acid, kaempferol and quercetin from strawberries to kill the leukemia cells. She did the work using laboratory cultures of both healthy human blood cells and cancerous ones as her model.

Her studies are of interest not only to cancer researchers, but also to nutrition scientists exploring the health benefits of natural compounds in the world's fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.

For the most part, scientists don't yet have all the details about how plant chemicals, or phytochemicals, bolster healthy cells and battle harmful ones. That's true even for better-known phytochemicals such as the resveratrol in grapes, blueberries and some other fruits, according to Zunino.

Her investigations provide some new clues about how phytochemicals attack cancer cells. For example, she found that the phytochemicals interfere with the orderly operations of mitochondria, the miniature energy-producing power plants inside cells. Without energy, cells die.

Mitochondria exposed to resveratrol and the other phytochemicals that Zunino tested couldn't function properly. But more work is needed, to fully understand how the phytochemicals achieved that.

And, Zunino and colleagues want to know more about the phytochemicals' other modes of action that result in cell death.

She's collaborating in the investigations with molecular biologist David Storms at WHNRC; Jonathan Ducore at the University of California-Davis Cancer Center; and Navindra Seeram, formerly with the University of California-Los Angeles and now at the University of Rhode Island-Kingston.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by US Department of Agriculture. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

US Department of Agriculture. "Food Compounds That Kill Test-Tube Cancer Cells Analyzed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080307080638.htm>.
US Department of Agriculture. (2008, March 10). Food Compounds That Kill Test-Tube Cancer Cells Analyzed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080307080638.htm
US Department of Agriculture. "Food Compounds That Kill Test-Tube Cancer Cells Analyzed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080307080638.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 1, 2015) Israeli scientists says laser bonding of tissue allows much faster healing and less scarring. Amy Pollock has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone have been busy fighting the menace created by the deadly Ebola virus, but illicit drug lords have taken advantage of the situation to advance the drug trade. Duration: 01:12 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stigma Stalks India's Leprosy Sufferers as Disease Returns

Stigma Stalks India's Leprosy Sufferers as Disease Returns

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The Indian government declared victory over leprosy in 2005, but the disease is making a comeback in some parts of the country, with more than a hundred thousand lepers still living in colonies, shunned from society. Duration: 02:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins