Some vegetables may provide cancer defense

February 9, 2006

Georgetown University scientists have found some vegetables contain chemicals that appear to enhance DNA repair in cells that might protect against cancer.

The researchers from the school's medical center discovered a compound called indole-3-carinol, which is found in broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, and a chemical called genistein, found in soy beans, can increase the levels of proteins that repair damaged DNA.

The study is one of the first to provide a molecular explanation as to how eating vegetables might cut a person's risk of developing cancer, said the study's senior author, Dr. Eliot Rosen, a professor of oncology, cell biology and radiation medicine.

"It is now clear that the function of crucial cancer genes can be influenced by compounds in the things we eat," Rosen said. "Our findings suggest a clear molecular process that would explain the connection between diet and cancer prevention."

The study appears in the British Journal of Cancer, published by the research journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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