Vegetable compound found promising in leukemia

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 13, 2012 11:40 hrs

Washington, Dec 13 (IANS) A concentrated form of a compound in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables lowers the number of acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells in the lab setting, say researchers.

"Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a type of cancer of the white blood cells common in children," said study co-author Daniel Lacorazza, assistant professor of pathology and immunology, at the Baylor College of Medicine.

"There is about an 80 percent cure rate, but some children don't respond to treatment. For those cases, we are in need of alternative treatments," Lacorazza was quoted in the journal Public Library of Science ONE.

Lacorazza and colleagues focused on purified sulforaphane, a natural compound found in broccoli believed to have both preventive and therapeutic properties in solid tumours, according to a Baylor statement.

Researchers led by Koramit Suppipat, who performed this work while a clinical fellow in the Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Centres, incubated human-derived leukemic cell lines with the compound.

The cancer cells died while the healthy cells obtained from healthy donors were unaffected. Studies tested in pre-clinical mouse models showed similar results.

"Sulforaphane is a natural product. However, what we used in this study is a concentrated purified form," said Lacorazza.

"So while eating cruciferous vegetables is good for you, it will not have the same effect as what we saw in the lab."

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