Scientists may be closer to finding a new way to treat the disease, and the answer may be hidden in your grocery list. A team of researchers believes that compounds located in potatoes and tomatoes could serve as a treatment for cancer. Here’s what they found.
Magdalena Winkiel, a research assistant at the Adam Mickiweicz University in Poland, lead the study. They were specifically looking at the potential of glycoalkaloids, the compound found in potatoes and tomatoes, as a possible treatment. The current dilemma with cancer treatments is that many drugs that can target and kill cancerous cells will also kill healthy cells. Winkiel said, “It is not easy despite the advances in medicine and powerful development of modern treatment techniques. That is why it might be worth going back to medicinal plants that were used years ago with success in the treatment of various ailments.” The team focused on five glycoalkaloids: solanine, chaconine, solasonine, solamargine, and tomatine. These compounds are found in plants from the Solanaceae family, also known as nightshade vegetables. But why focus on these plants and glycoalkaloids in particular?
These plants produce alkaloids as a defense against animals that would eat them. Taking these alkaloids and studying them can hopefully lead to finding a way to turn poison into medicine. Specifically, glycoalkaloids can stop cancer cell growth and may even help with cancer cell death. In some studies, the results suggested that glycoalkaloids won’t damage DNA or cause other damaging tumors. However, there is still much to be discovered about their impact and potential side effects they may produce. Solanine, which is found in potatoes, has been found to kill leukemia cells. Meanwhile, solamargine, found in eggplants, stops liver cancer cells from reproducing. The red, juicy tomato comes into play because tomatine, which can be found in tomatoes, helps the body support its regulation process of the cell cycle.
There is still much research that is needed to be done on the topic. We may find out one day that items in the average grocery list may help put a stop to cancer. Click here to read the study in its entirety.