Whole pizza 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
San Diego, CA—Oregano, the common pizza and pasta seasoning herb, has
long been known to possess a variety of beneficial health effects, but a
new study by researchers at Long Island University (LIU) indicates that
an ingredient of this spice could potentially be used to treat prostate
cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in American men.
cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the prostate gland and
usually occurs in older men. Recent data shows that about 1 in 36 men
will die of prostate cancer. Estimated new cases and deaths from this
disease condition in the US in 2012 alone are 241,740 and 28,170,
respectively. Current treatment options for patients include surgery,
radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and immune therapy.
Unfortunately, these are associated with considerable complications
and/or severe side effects.
Dr. Supriya Bavadekar, PhD, RPh,
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at LIU’s Arnold & Marie Schwartz
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, is currently testing
carvacrol, a constituent of oregano, on prostate cancer cells. The
results of her study demonstrate that the compound induces apoptosis in
these cells. Apoptosis, Dr. Bavadekar explains, is programmed cell
death, or simply “cell suicide.” Dr. Bavadekar and her group are
presently trying to determine the signaling pathways that the compound
employs to bring about cancer cell suicide.
“We know that oregano
possesses anti-bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties, but
its effects on cancer cells really elevate the spice to the level of a
super-spice like turmeric,” said Dr. Bavadekar. Though the study is at
its preliminary stage, she believes that the initial data indicates a
huge potential in terms of carvacrol’s use as an anti-cancer agent. “A
significant advantage is that oregano is commonly used in food and has a
‘Generally Recognized As Safe’ status in the US. We expect this to
translate into a decreased risk of severe toxic effects.”
researchers have previously shown that eating pizza may cut down cancer
risk. This effect has been mostly attributed to lycopene, a substance
found in tomato sauce, but we now feel that even the oregano seasoning
may play a role,” stated Dr. Bavadekar. “If the study continues to yield
positive results, this super-spice may represent a very promising
therapy for patients with prostate cancer.” This article was first published at www.newswise.com