Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Synthetic Cocoa Chemical Slows Growth Of Tumors In Human Cell Lines

Date:
June 16, 2008
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
A synthetic chemical based on a compound found in cocoa beans slowed growth and accelerated destruction of human tumors in laboratory studies, and should be tested further for cancer chemoprevention or even treatment, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center.

A synthetic chemical based on a compound found in cocoa beans (shown above) slowed growth and accelerated destruction of human tumors in laboratory studies.
Credit: iStockphoto/Elena Korenbaum

A synthetic chemical based on a compound found in cocoa beans slowed growth and accelerated destruction of human tumors in laboratory studies, and should be tested further for cancer chemoprevention or even treatment, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Related Articles


"We have all heard that eating chocolate is good for you; this study suggests one reason why that might be true," says the study's lead author Min Kim, Ph.D., a research scientist in the Department of Oncology at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Published online today in Cell Cycle, the researchers describe how four different human tumor cells lines out of 16 tested were sensitive to the chemical, known as GECGC. The strongest response was seen in two different colon cancers; growth was cut in half and most of the tumor cells were damaged.

Normal cells were not affected by GECGC, which makes the chemical a candidate for cancer chemoprevention, says Kim.

"This chemical seems to be safe, which makes sense because it has a structure similar to a natural product in cocoa beans - the same beans that are used to make chocolate," he says.

The researchers have long studied the beneficial effects of flavanols, which are molecules in vegetables and fruits that exhibit potent anti-oxidant and, potentially, anti-tumor properties. As part of these studies, investigators have been testing a new synthetic version of natural procyanidins, a class of flavanols, created and patented by the confectionery company, Mars Incorporated. (The company provided GECGC as a gift, and this project was funded in part by Mars Incorporated.)

In these studies, the scientists tested the effects of three different doses of GECGC on the cancer cell lines - the first time that a synthetic cocoa derivative has been used to screen human cancer cell lines. None of the doses tested were extreme, Kim points out. "The effective concentrations were considered similar to what a person might eat or use," he says.

They found sensitivity to GECGC in both colon cancer cell lines they tested, in cervical cancer cells and in one line of leukemia, tumor cells. Other cell lines were resistant, including ovarian and prostate cancer cells.

Overall, GECGC showed the most effect in treating cancer cells that are normally fast growing, Kim says. And the fact that it demonstrated the most killing power in colon cancer suggests the chemical "could serve as a promising therapeutic for colon cancer," he says. "So far, these data are very convincing."

The researchers do not yet clearly understand the mechanism by which GECGC disrupts tumor growth, but they think it inhibits the physical connections between cancer cells and blocks internal cell signaling pathways.

Kim says that animal studies testing the anticancer power of GECGC are currently underway. "While this work is indeed promising, we have much more study to do before we can say with authority that GECGC has anticancer properties."

Study co-authors include the senior author Richard Pestell, M.D., Ph.D., from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University; Maofu Fu, M.D., and Michael P. Lisanti, M.D., Ph.D., also from Thomas Jefferson University; and Xiaofang Wu, M.D., and Insun Song, Ph.D. from Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study was additionally funded by awards to Georgetown University Medical Center from the National Institutes of Health, a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Dr. Ralph and Marian C. Falk Medical Research Trust.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgetown University Medical Center. "Synthetic Cocoa Chemical Slows Growth Of Tumors In Human Cell Lines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080613104813.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2008, June 16). Synthetic Cocoa Chemical Slows Growth Of Tumors In Human Cell Lines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080613104813.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Synthetic Cocoa Chemical Slows Growth Of Tumors In Human Cell Lines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080613104813.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) 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