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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 April 2006, 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK
Ginger 'may fight ovarian cancer'
Ginger
Ginger is well known for its health benefits
Ginger may help to fight ovarian cancer, US scientists believe.

University of Michigan researchers announced at the American Association of Cancer Research that tests show ginger kills cancer cells.

The study also found that the spice had the added benefit of stopping the cells from becoming resistant to treatment.

But UK cancer experts said that, while ginger may in the future form a basis of a new drug, more research was needed to corroborate the findings.

Ginger is already known to ease nausea and control inflammation, but the findings by the US team offer cancer patients new hope.

This study doesn't mean that people should dash down to the supermarket and stockpile ginger
Henry Scowcroft

Researchers used ginger powder, similar to that sold in shops, which they dissolved in a solution and applied to ovarian cancer cells.

They found it caused the cells to die in all the tests done.

But it was the way in which the cells died which offered even more hope. The tests demonstrated two types of death - apoptosis, which is essentially cell suicide, and autophagy, a kind of self-digestion.

Report author Rebecca Liu said: "Most ovarian cancer patients develop recurrent disease that eventually becomes resistant to standard chemotherapy, which is associated with apoptosis.

"If ginger can cause autophagic cell death in addition to apoptosis, it may circumvent resistance to conventional chemotherapy."

The researchers warned the results were very preliminary and they plan to test whether they can obtain similar results in animal studies.

Side-effects

But they added the appeal of ginger was that it would have virtually no side-effects and would be easy to administer as a capsule.

Henry Scowcroft, science information officer for Cancer Research UK, said previous research had shown that ginger extract can stop cancer cell growing so it was possible that ginger could form the basis of a new drug.

But more work was needed before firm conclusions could be drawn, he added.

"This study doesn't mean that people should dash down to the supermarket and stockpile ginger.

"We still don't know whether ginger, in any form, can prevent or treat cancers in animals or people."


SEE ALSO:
Study to reveal power of ginger
23 Jun 04 |  Berkshire
Ginger eases arthritis pain
20 Nov 01 |  Health


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