Researchers at the universities of Strathclyde and
Glasgow said a technique they used to deliver the extract in
concentrated doses to the tumours, under laboratory conditions, had
caused 40 per cent of them to vanish.
The experiments, on two different types of skin cancer, also resulted in 30 per cent and 20 per cent of them reducing in size.
The tests are thought to be the first time that this type of treatment has made cancerous tumours shrink or vanish.
Known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), the extract is understood to have preventative anti-cancer properties.
previous attempts to reach tumours when delivered by conventional
intravenous methods have failed because they could not send enough of
the extract to the tumours.
However, researchers devised a new
approach which allowed the treatment to be delivered specifically to the
tumours intravenously. This was done by creating a cell with EGCg and
transferrin, a protein that naturally targets and latches on to the
surface of cancer cells, applying it to tumours.
The tests were done on two types of skin
cancer – epidermoid carcinoma which forms like scales on the surface of
the skin, and melanoma, which often develops in people who have moles
on their skin.
In both studies, 40 per cent of tumours vanished
while 30 per cent of tumours in carcinoma cases and 20 per cent in
melanoma cases shrank. A further 10 per cent of melanoma tumours were
stabilised and remained the same.
The process was found to have no side-effects on other cells or tissue.
Christine Dufès, a senior lecturer at the Strathclyde Institute of
Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, who led the research, said: “These are
very encouraging results which we hope could pave the way for new and
effective cancer treatments.
“This research could open doors to new treatments for what is still one of the biggest killer diseases in many countries.”
Julie Sharp of Cancer Research UK, said: “A few studies have shown
that extracts from green tea may have some effect on cancer cells in the
lab but his has not yet been backed up by research in humans.
far too soon to say if enjoying a cup of green tea has any wider
benefits in combating cancer, but we know that a healthy balanced diet
can help to reduce the risk.”
The research paper has been published in the journal Nanomedicine.