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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Researchers Learn How Chemical in Green Tea May Prevent Cancer

June 05, 1997|From Times staff and wire reports

Green tea could help prevent cancer through the action of a chemical known as a cathechin, according to a report in the June issue of 5 Nature. "One of the major ingredients of green tea inhibits urokinase, an enzyme crucial for cancer growth," according to Dr. Jerzy Jankun of the Medical College of Ohio.

Researchers knew that tea, especially green tea, contained chemicals that could protect against cancer but have been unable to identify the precise mechanism. Jankun's group said it had found that epigallocathechin-3 gallate (EGCG) acted against urokinase, which is often found in large amounts in human cancers. EGCG attaches to urokinase and prevents it from invading cells and forming tumors. Inhibition of urokinase can decrease tumor size or even cause complete remission of cancers in mice, the team found.

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