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Chillies Can Kill Cancer

The red-hot power of chillies can kill cancer

The substance in chillies that causes the tongue to burn also drives prostate cancer cells to kill themselves, according to research that could pave the way for new treatments.

The pepper component capsaicin makes the cells undergo programmed cell death or apoptosis, says a study published in the journal Cancer Research.

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High intake of hot chillis has been linked to stomach cancer

Tests found that it induced approximately 80 per cent of cancer cells growing in mice to follow the molecular pathways leading to apoptosis.

Prostate cancer tumours treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of tumours in non-treated mice, said a team from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Every year, 10,000 men die and more than 30,000 are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK.

"Capsaicin had a profound anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells in culture," said Dr Sören Lehmann, team member.

He estimated that the dose of pepper extract fed to the mice was equivalent to giving 400 milligrams of capsaicin three times a week to a 200-pound man, roughly equivalent to between three and eight fresh habañera peppers.

Britain's Prostate Cancer Charity welcomed the study, but advised men not to eat more hot chillis.

Head of Policy and Research, Chris Hiley, said: "Eventually, it may be possible to extract the capsaicin and make it available as a drug treatment. In the meantime we caution men with prostate cancer in the UK against upping their weekly intake of the hottest known chillies. High intake of hot chillies has been linked with stomach cancers in the populations of India and Mexico."

Source

Last Updated ( Mar 16, 2006 at 06:21 PM )