Green Tea Cancer
DHFR Blocking Action

You may have heard of antioxidants, but a green tea cancer study has found yet another way green tea fights cancer.

Study carried out jointly by the University of Murcia in Spain and John Innes Centre in England discovered why previous surveys found green tea drinkers are less likely to develop cancers.

Professor Roger Thorneley was able to scientifically explain why drinking 2 to 3 cups of green tea each day can help prevent cancer.

He discovered green tea catechin EGCG inhibits cancer by blocking an enzyme that is a catalyst to cancer growth. This enzyme is called dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR).

This enzyme is also targeted by methotrexate, an anti-cancer drug long used for treating cancerous breast, head and neck, and lung tumours. But methotrexate is known to cause vomiting and hair loss, among other ills.

"We decided to look at EGCG because we recognised that its structure is very similar to that of the successful anti-cancer drug methotrexate." said Co-author Dr Jose Neptuno Rodriguez-Lopez.

"We discovered that EGCG can kill cancer cells in the same way as methotrexate. However, because EGCG binds to the target enzyme less tightly than methotrexate, it should have decreased side effects on healthy cells."

"The researchers were now using EGCG as the starting point to design and develop effective new anti-cancer drugs that kill tumour cells but inflict less damage on healthy cells."

The research was published in the American medical journal Cancer Research of 2005.

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