Watercress Substance May Suppress Breast Cancer Cell Development

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A new study reported at a press conference on September 14 and summarized at the Breast Cancer Research Conference in Nottingham, England on September 15 to 17 concluded that a plant compound found in watercress interferes with the function of a protein that plays a major role in cancer development. When tumors grow they send out signals that force surrounding normal tissues to grow new blood vessels that feed them oxygen and nutrients that replace the ineffective existing blood vessels. Researchers found that a compound in watercress (phenylethyl isothiocyanate) blocks this process by turning off the function of the protein called Hypoxia Inductible Factor (HIF).
In their pilot study a small group of breast cancer survivors fasted and then ate 80 g of watercress. Blood tests were taken over the next 24 hours. Researchers found significant levels of the watercress compound PEITC in the blood following the meal, and could show that the function of the protein HIF was also measurable affected. More research is needed to show the direct impact of watercress on a decreased cancer risk.

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