Chemical compounds found in broccoli may prevent acute radiation poisoning, as shown in a recent study. Compounds that derived from broccoli, cabbage and other vegetables - prevents mice from lethal radiation hazards. If follow-up studies to work in humans, these compounds can be given to people before or after exposure to nuclear radiation to reduce acute radiation sickness.
Understanding of the research could also help reduce the side effects of radiation therapy in cancer patients by creating healthy cells, said co-author of the study, Dr. Eliot Rosen, a radiation oncologist at Georgetown University in Washington DC.
When a person is exposed to high doses of radiation, such as from a nuclear crisis or dirty bomb, then they stop producing bone marrow cells to fight infections or produce blood clots.
|A resident is arranging freshly picked broccoli on the slopes of Mount Merbabu farming at village Kaponan-Pakis, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/SjUU2h)|
Radiation can also peel the weight of the digestive system, making people susceptible to inflammation and infection. At high enough doses, it can be a deadly disease. Studies in the past have shown that a compound derived from broccoli, called 3,3 '-diindolylmethane (DIM), shows promising potential for cancer prevention, because it can increase the likelihood of DNA repair.
To determine the efficacy of the broccoli compound, researchers used 40 rats were given doses of gamma radiation which is usually lethal. 10 minutes later they give DIM to half of the rats. Mice that did not get DIM was die and 60 percent were given DIM can survive for more than 30 days.
After 30 days, the animal usually will not die from acute radiation sickness, but the researchers did not study older animals so that the animals may have died from cancer years later, Rosen said.
"But, in the case of a nuclear disaster, you do not really worry someone will get cancer 10 or 20 years into the future, you will only worry about their lives in the early weeks they were exposed to radiation," said Rosen told LiveScience.
In a second set of studies, the team showed that breast cancer cells treated with DIM human remains vulnerable to the effects of radiation, raising the possibility that DIM can protect healthy cells of patients while still allowing radiation to kill cancer cells.
DIM preferential effects in healthy tissue could reduce the side effects of radiation therapy. "These results are very interesting and surprising because the whole body of radiation protection," said Gary Firestone, a molecular biologist at the University of California, Berkeley who studies DIM.
Further clinical trials are needed to test the effectiveness of the compounds of broccoli in humans, said Firestone told LiveScience. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | LIVESCIENCE]
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