Green tea hope for prostate cancer
An unlikely therapy derived from green tea and gold can successfully treat prostate cancer, a study has shown.
Scientists used a compound found in green tea to deliver tiny particles of radioactive gold dust to cancer sites.
The early research, conducted in mice, showed that the treatment shrank tumours by 80%.
Further studies are now planned on dogs with prostate cancer before moving on to human trials.
Lead scientist Professor Kattesh Katti, from the University of Missouri in the United States, said: "In our study, we found that a special compound in tea was attracted to tumour cells in the prostate.
"When we combined the tea compound with radioactive gold nanoparticles, the tea compound helped 'deliver' the nanoparticles to the site of the tumours and the nanoparticles destroyed the tumour cells very efficiently."
The research is reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Scientists believe it could pave the way to new and more effective treatments for patients with aggressive, spreading prostate cancer.
Each year around 41,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK and just under 11,000 die from the disease.
The injected gold nanoparticles are just the right size to destroy tumours by zapping them with radiation while not harming surrounding healthy tissue. With a half-life of 2.7 days, their radioactivity is depleted within around three weeks.