October 30, 2012 | by Darrin Joy
City of Hope’s Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Cancer Biology, has studied the cancer-fighting potential of foods for decades. His early work began with mushrooms. In the years since, he’s added blueberries and pomegranates to the list.
Chen has found these foods have natural chemicals that can put the brakes on breast cancer.
Most breast cancers need estrogen to live. Breast cancer cells use the enzyme aromatase to make lots of estrogen. Chen found that mushrooms and pomegranates make compounds that block aromatase.
And blueberries may prove to be even more important. They make a chemical that can combat so-calledtriple-negative breast cancers, one of the toughest forms to treat. These tumors don’t need estrogen to grow. Worse, they remain unaffected by some of the most current and effective breast cancer drugs.
Using a concentrated extract of blueberries, Chen and his colleagues showed that triple-negative tumors could be stopped in laboratory models.
Chen recently told NBC Los Angeles about his work.
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