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Federal Grant Funds Green Tea Research

Will let scientists continue look at drink's cancer-fighting properties

FRIDAY, Oct. 17, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A National Institute of Cancer grant of about $300,000 for the next two years will let Medical College of Georgia scientists continue their research into green tea's cancer-fighting properties.

The grant means cell biologist Stephen Hsu and his colleagues can further their work comparing healthy cells to cancer cells after exposure to compounds called polyphenols, which are found in green tea.

Through his previous research, Hsu helped determine that the polyphenols in green tea help eliminate free radicals, which can damage DNA and lead to cancer. He also discovered that a green tea-induced protein called p57, which helps regulate cell growth and differentiation, changes the behavior of healthy cells as polyphenols target cancer cells for destruction.

This change in behavior of the healthy cells helps protect them.

Hsu found that polyphenols activate two separate pathways, one for cancer cells and one for normal cells. The polyphenols separate healthy cells that contain the p57 protein from cancer cells, which lack p57. Normal cells are shuttled to safety while polyphenols destroy the cancer cells.

This grant will support Hsu's efforts to better understand the exact cellular and genetic behavior involved in this process.

A report on his research appears in the October issue of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about green tea.

SOURCE: Medical College of Georgia, news release, October 2003
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