WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- An antioxidant compound found in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may be the key to preventing cancer.
- The compound was found to protect and enhance our body’s p53 gene, which is known to repair DNA damage and suppress tumor development.
- People with cancer usually have an inhibited p53 gene, so reactivating it with the help of EGCG in green tea could potentially treat the disease.
For thousands of years, green tea has been known for its numerous health benefits. It has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia and heart attacks, and promote longer life. Now, a new study reveals that one of its compounds could be the key to preventing cancer.
Scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, studied the relationship between the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) compound in green tea and the p53 gene in our body.
The p53 gene is known as the “Guardian of the Genome” for its ability to repair DNA damage. It can also destroy cancerous cells and suppress tumor development. The gene also prevents damaged and irreparable DNA cells from dividing by inducing apoptosis or programmed cell death.
Lead author Professor Chunyu Wang explained, “Mutations in p53 are found in over 50% of human cancer,” adding that the gene is “arguably the most important protein in human cancer.”
The gene is usually inhibited in people with cancer, so reactivating it could potentially treat the disease.
EGCG, a natural antioxidant found in green tea, helps reverse constant damage caused by oxygen metabolism. According to the study, EGCG may also increase p53 levels and improve its efficiency.
Through a scanning technique called nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, EGCG was shown to protect the cell structure’s ‘N-terminal domain’ from degradation.
Wang continued, “When EGCG binds with p53, the protein is not being degraded…so the level of p53 will increase with the direct interaction. That means there is more p53 for anti-cancer function.”
This research could lay “the groundwork for new and successful therapies” by providing an “understanding of the molecular-level mechanisms that control key biochemical interactions linked to devastating illnesses,” said Curt Breneman, dean of the Rensselaer School of Science.
The study was published this month in Nature Communications.
Source: Good News Network