Late-Stage Breast Cancer Derailed By Anti-Cancer Agents in Vegetables

It's seems a week doesn't go by without me telling you about the latest reason scientists have discovered to eat your vegetables, which is usually related to improving the quality of your health. This week's newest reason is to disrupt the late stages of cell growth related to breast cancer.

An natural anti-cancer compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, suforaphane (SUL), has been found to block late stages of the cancer process by disrupting components of the cell called microtubules. In fact, scientists were surprised that SUL could block the growth of breast cells that were already cancerous.

Hours after exposure to cultures of malignant human breast cancer cells, SUL blocked cell division and disrupted microtubules, which are long, slender cylinders made up of tubulin (protein), that are essential for the separation of duplicated chromosomes during cell division.

SUL is abundant in such vegetables as broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale. Chewing causes the cell walls of these vegetables to break, and SUL is released into the body.

Researchers believe SUL could ultimately be used to enhance the prevention and treatment of breast cancer, and aren't sure if the amount needed to derail it needs to be higher than one can eat. Another interesting fact about SUL: Its actions in blocking the spread of breast cancer are similar to that of a group of anticancer drugs currently in use, such as Taxol.

Science Blog August 31, 2004

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