The scientists say a component of green tea helps kill cells of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the second most common leukemia in American adults, according to new research.
Mayo Clinic researchers found that the component, called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), destroys leukemia cells by interrupting the communication signals they need to survive. The research appears online in the journal Blood.
CLL is most often diagnosed in people in their mid-to-late 60s. Chemotherapy is used to treat the most severe cases, but there is no cure for CLL.
In this study, the Mayo scientists found that EGCG prompted leukemia cells to die in eight of 10 patient samples tested in a laboratory, inform healthday.com
"We're continuing to look for therapeutic agents that are nontoxic to the patient but kill cancer cells, and this finding with EGCG is an excellent start," Dr. Neil E. Kay, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said in a statement.
"Understanding this mechanism and getting these positive early results give us a lot to work with in terms of offering patients with this disease more effective, easily tolerated therapies earlier."
In a previous report, Kay's team had shown that certain cancer cells, known as chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells, release a chemical called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Coupled with other research, the findings suggested that VEGF helped the cancer cells survive, report reuters.co.uk