A new compound found in green tea could cure cancer. University of Strathclyde scientists have found that epigallocatechin gallate in green tea has some anti-cancer properties. Tumours were found to either shrink or disappear within a month when treated with the new compound. Besides, it has no side effects.
"The extract, known as epigallocatechin gallate, has been known to have preventative anti-cancer properties but fails to reach tumours when delivered by conventional intravenous administration," said Dr Christine Dufès, senior lecturer at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences.
During the study, researchers used a unique method to deliver the compound to tumours. They found that tumours which received the compound either shrank or disappeared within a month.
To re-test the effectiveness of the compound, scientists used the same compound on two different types of skin cancer. They found that 40 per cent of both types of tumour vanished, while 30% of one and 20% of another shrank.
"When we used our method, the green tea extract reduced the size of many of the tumours every day, in some cases removing them altogether. By contrast, the extract had no effect at all when it was delivered by other means, as every one of these tumours continued to grow," said Dufes.
The researchers encapsulated the green tea extract in vesicles that also carried transferrin, a plasma protein which transports iron through the blood. Receptors for transferrin are found in large amounts in many cancers, according to a Eurekalert report.
"These are very encouraging results which we hope could pave the way for new and effective cancer treatments. This research could open doors to new treatments for what is still one of the biggest killer diseases in many countries," said Dr Dufès.