Over the last decade a new theory of cancer biology has emerged, the cancer stem cell. Normal stem cells are involved in organ repair, they travel around the body, sit and wait until there’s some damage, and step in and replace whatever structures are necessary. Lost a little skin here, bone or muscle there, need to regrow a new tooth, these cells are ready and willing. And, the best part, they’re built to last a lifetime. But those same qualities, migration, colonization, proliferation, self-renewal, immortality can be used against us when stem cells go bad and decide to build tumors instead.
Cancer stem cells may explain cancer spread and cancer recurrence. That may be why cancer tends to come back. There may be no cure, only remission. You can have a breast cancer relapse 20-25 years after you thought it went away. Thanks, potentially, to cancer stem cells.
Our current armament of chemo drugs and radiation is based on animal models. If the tumor shrinks, it’s a success. But lab rats only live two or three years. What about all these new fancy therapies like antiangiogenesis, cutting off the blood supplies to tumors? That’s great, but the cancer stems cells may be like “Fine, I’ll go somewhere else and grow another one.” What we need is to strike at the root of cancer, treatments aimed not at just reducing tumor bulk, but rather at targeting the ‘beating heart’ of the tumor, the cancer stem cell. Enter, broccoli.
Sulforaphane, a dietary component of broccoli, and broccoli sprouts, appears to inhibit breast cancer stem cells. Breast tissue, naturally has to have lots of stem cells. Your body never knows when you’re going to get pregnant and need to start making a lot of new milk glands. Researchers recently discovered this compound in broccoli that may destroy cancerous stem cells and keep them from going rogue in the first place.
Estrogen receptor positive human breast tumor; estrogen receptor negative breast tumor. Let’s add some broccoli juice. Going … going… nearly gone. Stem cell hotspots before and after.
Broccoli also protects our DNA. See the preceding video-of-the-day,DNA Protection From Broccoli, and my other 35 videos on greens and 98 videos on cancer. And those are two of the 1,290 topics I cover here at NutritionFacts.org. Note that most of the sources for this video are all open access, so you can click on them above in the Sources Cited section and read them full-text for free.
For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Breast Cancer Stem Cells vs. Broccoli, Fighting Inflammation with Food Synergy, Antioxidants in a Pinch: Dried Herbs and Spices, How to Enhance Mineral Absorption, Breast Cancer Stem Cells Versus Broccoli, Treating PMS with Saffron, Are Bioidentical Hormones Safe?, The Anti-Wrinkle Diet, Increasing Muscle Strength with Fenugreek, How Tumors Use Meat to Grow, Mushrooms for Breast Cancer Prevention, Prevent Breast Cancer by Any Greens Necessary, Foods That May Block Cancer Formation, and Breast Cancer & Alcohol: How Much Is Safe?
Michael Greger, M.D.
ger, M.D., is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.