Garlic can kill cells that cause glioblastoma, a brain cancer that is usually fatal, researchers in South Carolina have found.
Swapan Ray and Narendra Banik, neurosciences professors at the Medical University of South Carolina, said their discovery came during a search for a way to kill the cancer without harming healthy cells, The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier reported.
"In the disease, you want to kill the cells, but you want to protect others," Banik told the newspaper. "Our tests were to see how effective the compounds were."
Banik, Ray and post-doctoral fellow Arabinda Das tested several organic compounds on cancerous cells. They included garlic in the test program because of its reputation for having healing powers.
Three organo-sulfur compounds they tested effectively stopped the cancerous cells, Ray said.
"This research highlights the great promise of plant-originated compounds as natural medicine for controlling the malignant growth of human brain tumor cells," Ray said.
More studies are needed in animals before the therapeutic strategy can be applied to human patients, Ray said.
The research will be published next month in the American Cancer Society's journal, Cancer.
Copyright 2007 by United Press International
Explore further: Scientists discover hidden subpopulation of melanoma cells