Green Tea's EGCG May Fight Melanoma

Dec 24, 2004

Melanoma accounts for only 4% of all skin cancers, but most of the skin cancer related deaths. Standard systemic therapies are inadequately effective therefore novel approaches are needed. Naturally occuring substances in beverages and foods has shown benefit in a number of cancers and nonmelanoma skin cancers.

In this study scientists wanted to assess the benefit of EGCG, green teas strongest chemopreventive-antioxidant on two forms of melanoma cell lines: malignant melanoma and metastatic melanoma, and for comparisons sake, on healthy human epidermal melanocytes. EGCG had a significant dose-dependent benefit: the more EGCG added to the cells, the greater its ability to decrease their viability and growth. Interestingly, EGCG had no effect on the healthy cells. The melanoma cells proliferation was inhibited and the cancer cells were induced to die. Cellular mechanisms that protected the melanoma decreased and mechanisms that caused their destruction were increased. EGCG had a significant dose-dependent ability to inhibit the growth of the cells and cause their destruction. Thus EGCG alone or in conjunction with current therapies could be useful in the management of melanoma. The research was performed jointly at the Department of Dermatology, University of Wisconsin, and the William S Middleton Veterans Hospital, Madison, Wi. and is published in the December 17th, 2004 issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

Antibiotic Use May Increase The Risk Of Allergy And Asthma / Allergies And Astma May Start In The Gut

Epidemiological studies show that the increase in the rate of allergies has coincided with the increased use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to kill fectious bacteria, unfortunately, they commonly kill of the friendly bacteria in both the small and large intestines. These good bacteria, reffered to as friendly flora, are needed for proper dgestion, for optimal health, and they also crowd out dangerous bacteria and yeast. Killing off the friendly flora opens up real estate on the intestinal wall where infectious bacteria and yeast can grow. The change in the balance of bacterial flora often leads to allergies and asthma.

In this study mice were given antibiotic laden water for a few days. This lead to a decrease in the natural frindly flora that normally inhabit their intestines. The mice got increasing levels of the fungus Candida albicans - they developed a yeast infection, a common occurence after antibiotic use. Candida like other strains of yeast, release chemicals that throw off the proper control of the intestines immune system. The mice with an overgrowth of yeast and the corresponding disruption in intestinal immune function were then exposed to harmless substances called allergens - in this case an inocous mold. The mice quickly developed allergies and inflammation in the lungs that can lead to asthma. The mice who did not have antibiotics did not develop the allergies or inflammation with exposure to the mold. Gene testing also showd no difference between the mice - it was the antibiotic use. Exposing both groups of mice to common substances caused the same results; exposing the antibioitic users to animal danders, cockroach feces, and dust mites, and different plant pollens resulted in allergies and lung inflammation, which did not occur in the untreated mice.

Using antibiotics lead to an imbalanced gut flora with an overgrowth of Candida yeast. This triggered allergies to common substances and inflammation that may led to asthma. The research was conducted at the University of Michigan Medical School and at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK and is published in the January 2005 issue of the journal Infection and Immunity.