The humble cabbage could be the key to protecting people from radiation during cancer therapy.
Researchers claim a compound derived from cruciferous vegetable – such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli – protected rats and mice from lethal doses of radiation.
Their study suggests the compound, already shown to be safe for humans, may protect normal tissues during radiation therapy for cancer treatment and prevent or mitigate sickness caused by radiation exposure.
The compound – known as DIM (or ,3″-diindolylmethane) – previously has been found to have cancer preventative properties.
The study’s corresponding author Doctor Eliot Rosen, of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre in the U.S., said: ‘DIM has been studied as a cancer prevention agent for years, but this is the first indication that DIM can also act as a radiation protector.’
For the study, the researchers irradiated rats with lethal doses of gamma ray radiation.
The animals were then treated with a daily injection of DIM for two weeks, starting 10 minutes after the radiation exposure.
The result was stunning, according to Dr Rosen, who is a professor of oncology, biochemistry and cell and molecular biology, and radiation medicine.
He said: ‘All of the untreated rats died, but well over half of the DIM-treated animals remained alive 30 days after the radiation exposure.’ …