While chemotherapy and radiation remain to be the most popular options for treating most types of cancer, scientists continue to discover various other choices for fighting the deadly disease.
Quite recently, a nutritional scientist from Rutgers University, along with two New York City biologists specializing on cancer, has found something very useful for cancer patients. According to the research, extra virgin olive oil contains a certain ingredient known as oleocanthal that can kill cancer cells in less than an hour and may also prevent Alzheimer’s.
How Does Oleocanthal Do It?
Scientists were not sure how this ingredient can kill the cancer cells. However, they were sure it did have this wonderful effect, which can give huge hope to cancer patients around the world. The scientists theorized that this compound is probably targeting a protein found in cancer cells. This protein is the key to triggering the automatic death of the cells, which is known as apoptosis. This specific hypothesis was the center of the study.
One of the researchers shared that they applied oleocanthal to the cells that were affected by cancer and they found out the following:
- The cancer cells started dying almost immediately after oleocanthal was applied to them.
- The average duration of death of cells was from 30 minutes to an hour. Note that the automatic cell death takes place from 16 to 24 hours.
- The study also allowed the scientists to discover that the cancer cells’ enzymes were the ones responsible to their deaths.
- When oleocanthal was used, it punctured the vesicles, which were within the cancer cells. These vesicles store the wastes of the cells, making them the recycling center or the dumpster of these cells.
The vesicles are scientifically known as lysosomes, which are bigger if they are inside a cancer cell than when they are in a healthy cell. This means that they do have a lot of waste. Additionally, it may also be possible for oleocanthal to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s the Next Step for the Discovery?
Probably the best thing about using this compound from olive oil is that it kills cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. What it does, however, is that it stops the life cycles for a short period of time. It is almost the same as putting the healthy cells to sleep. Then, the normal cells are brought back to life and their life cycles resume after a day.
With the discovery, the scientists urge other experts to take the next step, which is to bring the finding beyond laboratories. Although more studies and tests are needed, oleocanthal gives cancer patients hope that they don’t need to experience the pain and suffering brought about by chemotherapy.