Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Broccoli to fight skin cancer?

Date:
September 4, 2013
Source:
NCI-Designated Cancer Centers
Summary:
With skin cancer emerging as one of the world’s most prevalent forms of cancer, researchers are using every tool at their disposal to fight this disease. The tool of choice for Sally Dickinson, PhD? Broccoli.

Sally Dickinson, PhD, is using broccoli to fight skin cancer.
Credit: Image courtesy of NCI-Designated Cancer Centers

With skin cancer emerging as one of the world's most prevalent forms of cancer, researchers are using every tool at their disposal to fight this disease. The tool of choice for Sally Dickinson, PhD? Broccoli.

A diet heavy in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli sprouts, has shown potential risk-reduction properties for colorectal, prostate and various other forms of cancer. Dr. Dickinson's research currently focuses on how sulforaphane -- a naturally occurring compound in broccoli with established chemopreventive properties -- could possibly be used to help patients reduce their risk for skin cancer.

What sets Dr. Dickinson's research apart? Instead of eating broccoli to unlock the risk-reduction nutrients, she's asking patients to apply small doses of sulforaphane to their skin. Think of it as a broccoli-based sunscreen additive.

"Even though there is heightened awareness about the need for limited sun exposure and use of sunscreens, we're still seeing far too many cases of skin cancer each year," Dr. Dickinson said. "We're searching for better methods to prevent skin cancer in formats that are affordable and manageable for public use. Sulforaphane may be an excellent candidate for use in the prevention of skin cancer caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays."

Dr. Dickinson, a research assistant professor in the Pharmacology Department at the University of Arizona and a UA Cancer Center member, began investigating broccoli's chemopreventive properties when she began her postdoctoral studies in 2005 in the laboratory of Tim Bowden, PhD -- one of the UACC's most influential research scientists. Prior to joining Dr. Bowden's laboratory, Dr. Dickinson earned her PhD through the Genetics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program at the UA, studying oxidative stress and heart disease.

Under Dr. Bowden's guidance, Dr. Dickinson pursued her postdoctoral training and built up an impressive list of credentials in her own right. As Dr. Bowden transitions into retirement, Dr. Dickinson will take over the majority of his lab's ongoing projects, including this in-depth look into sulforaphane.

"I learned so much from working with Dr. Bowden," Dr. Dickinson said. "He is a hypothesis-driven, old-school scientist who quietly extracts the best out of everyone around him. I'm truly honored that he's handing his lab's reins over to me."

So how would topical broccoli-based ointments differ from the products currently available in stores? Dr. Dickinson's research shows that sulforaphane is a highly adaptable, highly effective agent when it comes to inhibiting cancer-causing pathways (such as the AP-1 protein), while activating chemoprotective genes (such as the Nrf2 gene).

Her pilot study in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University will test a topical broccoli sprout solution on the skin a group of patients to see if the compound is effective in the context of solar simulated light. Previous studies have shown that the extract is quite safe for both topical and oral administration.

If the research proves to be successful, Dr. Dickinson believes this could lead to even more applications for sulforaphane.

"Sulforaphane is the kind of compound that has so many incredible theoretical applications if the dosage is measured properly," Dr. Dickinson said. "We already know that it is very effective in blocking sunburns, and we have seen cases where it can induce protective enzymes in the skin."

Someday, patients with compromised immune systems may be able to apply sulforaphane to their skin in order to reduce their risk of skin cancer. Sulforaphane is one of the many natural products and pharmaceutical agents being explored for use in topical prevention of UV-induced skin cancers through the Chemoprevention of Skin Cancer Program Project Grant, headed by Dr. Bowden and UACC Director David Alberts, MD.

Dr. Dickinson's research could potentially lead to a day when parents are instructing their children to not only eat their vegetables, but to wear them, as well.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. "Broccoli to fight skin cancer?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904203540.htm>.
NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. (2013, September 4). Broccoli to fight skin cancer?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904203540.htm
NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. "Broccoli to fight skin cancer?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904203540.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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