Broccoli Forces Cancer Cells to Commit Suicide

BroccoliForces Cancer Cells to Commit Suicide


BritishBrassica Growers Association

June12, 1998

Excitingnew research carried out at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) has revealedthat broccoli can cause precancerous cells to commit suicide.

Apoptosis,as it is known in the scientific community, is the process of cell death, and astudy which was carried out under laboratory conditions at the IFR with cellcultures, has shown that juiced broccoli added to cancer cells, can causeapoptosis to take place.

“Apoptosis or cell suicide – is currently big news in the scientific community and isan extremely exciting process which brings us one step closer to understandingwhy fruit and vegetables could help to protect against diet related cancers.Although there is still a lot of work which needs to be done, the broccoli studyis further evidence that leafy green vegetables have anticarcinogenicproperties,” said Ian Johnson, Head of the project at the IFR.

Thework has been funded by the British broccoli growers at the British BrassicaGrowers Association. Commenting on the work, Roy Stanley of the Brassica GrowersAssociation said: “It is an extremely interesting discovery which suggeststhat broccoli can help to remove precancerous cells from the lining of the gut.This is excellent news for everyone.”

Broccolicontains compounds which have anticarcinogenic properties and when thesecompounds are broken down, they stimulate cancer cells to commit suicide.

“Broccoliis a member of a group of vegetables called brassicas which have a distinct`mustard-like’ flavour. This flavour is created by the anticarginogeniccompounds which can be found within brassica vegetables such as broccoli,”added Ian Johnson.

Althoughall vegetables are beneficial to health and help fight off disease, a tomato wasalso tested at the IFR as a comparison to demonstrate that not all vegetableshave the ability to induce apoptosisThe results revealed that broccolican reduce cell survival by around 95% whereas tomatoes have very little effectat all.

“Itis the brassica vegetables which are amongst the most beneficial in the fightagainst cancer and as broccoli is a particularly versatile brassica which isincreasing in popularity, it is an excellent vegetable choice for manypeople,” concluded Roy Stanley.

Theresults of the project are consistent with other new findings which haveappeared in recent literature.

For further information or a copy of the full technical report contact DebraPieri or Pat Hindley on 0171 373 4537.