- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Broccoli for Your Skin?
23 October 2007 (All day)
Eat your vegetables, they say, but a new study might make you want to rub them on your skin instead. The paper shows that an ingredient extracted from broccoli can help prevent sunburn damage. The researchers hope that the findings will eventually lead to a new type of sun protection that perks up the body's own defenses.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation and many chemical compounds cause oxidative damage to our DNA, which can lead to cancer. Humans have a natural defense system to break down these oxidizing agents, but UV radiation doesn't kick it into high gear. That's why cancer researchers have been looking for ways to activate these natural antioxidants.
Broccoli and related vegetables produce a compound called sulforaphane that is known to do just that. In previous tests on mice, sulforaphane reduced the inflammation caused by UV radiation. In the new study, pharmacologist Paul Talalay and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, put the compound to the test in six human volunteers, who each served as his or her own control. Different sections of their backs were exposed to different doses of UV radiation; broccoli sprout extract was applied to some but not to others. The team then determined skin redness--a measure of cell damage--at various intervals after the exposure.
When the extract was applied daily during the 3 days before UV exposure, cell damage, on average, declined by 37%, the team reports online 23 October in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An ointment or cream based on sulforaphane could reduce the risk of skin cancer from UV radiation, Talalay says; it would not replace traditional sunscreen--which blocks UV rays--but would help cells handle any damage.
"There is a rising tide of skin cancer occurring all over the world," says dermatologist Francisco Tausk of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. "This research may play a big role in turning that tide."
The research could also help organ transplant patients who take immunosuppressive drugs that increase their risk of skin cancer, says pharmacologist Michael Sporn of Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire. "Chemotherapy is now commonly used to treat cancers, but chemoprevention has met with a lot of skepticism,” Sporn says. "This study clearly shows that it works in humans and should be pursued."