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Compound in Celery Possible Cancer Treatment

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Celery contains apigenin which may fight cancer Stockbyte/Thinkstock

Vegetables have long been known to be healthy and filled with vitamins, but studies are now shining a fresh light on one vegetable in particular — celery.

This stalky vegetable contains apigenin, which studies show is a substance known to impact breast cancer cell growth.

“Apigenin inhibits progression and development of these tumors by inducing apoptosis, inhibiting cell proliferation, and reducing expression of [the tumor]. Moreover, apigenin reduced levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) without altering blood vessel density,” according to a published study conducted by the University of Missouri Department of Pathobiology.

The substance found in celery was first tested as part of a treatment used in postmenopausal women to decrease the risk of endometrial cancer due to taking progestin/estrogen in their recovery.

The University of Missouri released a statement about the findings of their research, saying:

“Apigenin slowed the progression of human breast cancer cells in three ways: by inducing cell death, by inhibiting cell proliferation, and by reducing expression of a gene associated with cancer growth. Blood vessels responsible for feeding cancer cells also had smaller diameters in apigenin-treated mice compared to untreated mice. Smaller vessels mean restricted nutrient flow to the tumors and may have served to starve the cancer as well as limiting its ability to spread.”

A group of mice were test subjects which were exposed to apigenin after it was concluded that they had a specific type of breast cancer. Another group was giving a placebo.

The mice that received the apigenin treatment showed significant differences in comparison to those not receiving the treatment. The mice treated with it had fewer tumors and the cancer cells grew slower.

“Six to 10 million women in the United States receive hormone replacement therapy (HRT). We know that certain synthetic hormones used in HRT accelerate breast tumor development,” another statement made by the University of Missouri researchers said.

The fact that the researchers may have found a natural alternative cure for this aggressive form of breast cancer could mean that women potentially face less side effects than they do with the chemical treatments, such as chemotherapy.

In both statements made by the University of Missouri, researchers said that it will be difficult to find funding for further research on the possible side effects of high doses of apigenin in humans. That is because it is a natural cure, and drug manufacturers would not be making a profit.

“Clinical trials of apigenin with humans could start tomorrow, but we have to wait for medical doctors to carry out that next step. One problem is, because apigenin doesn’t have a known specific target in the cancer cell, funding agencies have been reticent to support the research. Also, since apigenin is easily extracted from plants, pharmaceutical companies don’t stand to profit from the treatment; hence the industry won’t put money into studying something you can grow in your garden.”

As with any findings, further research needs to be conducted before it is put into use on humans, but in the meantime, keep eating those vegetables.

Sources used:

Basi, Christian. "News Bureau." MU. University of Missouri, 9 May 2011. Web. 18 July 2012.

Chan, Amanda L. "Apigenin, Found In Celery And Parsley, Could Help Fight Breast Cancer." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 17 May 2012. Web. 18 July 2012.

Wall, Timothy. "News Bureau." MU. University of Missouri, 15 May 2012. Web. 18 July 2012.

Zhang, Benford Mafuvadze, Yayun Liang, Cynthia Besch-Williford, Xu, and Salman M. Hyder. "Apigenin Induces Apoptosis and Blocks Growth of Medroxyprogesterone Acetate-Dependent BT-474 Xenograft Tumors." SpringerLink. University of Missouri, 9 May 2012. Web. 18 July 2012.

Reviewed July 18, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments


Very interesting. I will have to do further research into this. There was also a study regarding freeze dried black raspberries that can change the cells as well.

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Henderson Teeth Whitening

October 7, 2012 - 9:49am
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