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April 18, 2005

Researchers find that chocolate compound stops cancer cell cycle in lab experiments

Topics: Medicine

Falling under the "not just your ordinary Milky Way candy bar department," comes this interesting and yes, even intriguing, research report on the multiple deactivation of the gene expression of several regulatory proteins by pentameric procyanidins. We're talking about a couple of the "big guys" of interest in tumor promotion too, p53 and Cdc2.

Mechanism-wise, it's interesting that several regulatory proteins were jointly deactivated - a possible suggestion for a previously unknown target for therapy and also synergistic interaction between the target and the expression of the multiple tumor-promoting proteins. Is there a "master switch" that we haven't noticed before? But it's not quite time to begin stuffing yourself with Milky Ways - though eventually we'll probably find that a pentameric procyanidin-containing extract may have some anti-tumor benefit in people.

- Innovations Report
(...)  "There are all kinds of chemicals in the food we eat that potentially have effects on cancer cells, and a natural compound in chocolate may be one," said the lead author, Robert B. Dickson, Ph.D., professor of oncology. "We need to slowly develop evidence about the selectivity of these compounds to cancer, learn how they work, and sort out any issues of toxicity."

(...)  Researchers from the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University have shown how an ingredient found in chocolate seems to exert its anti-cancer properties -- findings that might be used one day to design novel cancer treatments. The study, published in the April issue of the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, explains how pentameric procyanidin (pentamer), a natural compound found in cocoa, deactivates a number of proteins that likely work in concert to push a cancer cell to continually divide.

(...)  ... located were two well known tumor suppressor genes as well as two other proteins known to be involved in regulating the "cell cycle" -- the progression of a cell from a state of being "quiet" into division and growth. They specifically found that the breast cancer cells stopped dividing when treated with pentamer and that all four proteins were inactivated. Furthermore, expression of one of the genes was reduced.    
More ...

Suggested Readings:

Pentameric procyanidin from Theobroma cacao selectively inhibits growth of human breast cancer cells.

Misc. procyanidin articles

cross posted at NewHopeBlog

Posted by Hyscience at April 18, 2005 9:06 AM



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