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Green Tea Won't Help Fight Skin Cancer Even With Useful Extracts

Update Date: Aug 23, 2012 09:08 AM EDT

If you are one of those who are gulping down gallons of green tea in a hope to cut down skin cancer risk, we have bad news. Researchers say that though green tea extracts do have beneficial components, consuming it in tea, does not help.

Certain chemical compounds found in green tea are used to treat two types of skin cancer, say scientists. In lab tests, when applied to cancer cells, the extracts made two-thirds of tumors shrink or disappear.

However, the extract is not strong enough to work, when consumed as tea, the scientists said. 

The extract, known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), had no side-effects on other cells or tissue, scientists have found.

For the research conducted by Scientists at the universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow a cell with EGCg and transferring (a protein that naturally targets and latches on to the surface of cancer cells), was created by the scientists and applied to tumors, Mail Online reported.

The tests were conducted on two types of skin cancers: epidermoid carcinoma and melanoma, and it was found that in both tests, 40 percent of tumors vanished.  Only 30 per cent of tumors in carcinoma cases and 20 per cent in melanoma cases shrank while 10 per cent of melanoma tumors were found to be stabilized, and it neither grew nor shrunk.

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. Melanoma accounts for less than 5% of skin cancer cases, but it causes most skin cancer deaths, reports cancer.org.

"These are very encouraging results which we hope could pave the way for new and effective cancer treatments," lead researcher Dr Christine Dufes, from the University of Strathclyde, was quoted as saying by Mailonline. 

"When we used our method, the green tea extract reduced the size of many of the tumors every day, in some cases removing them altogether. By contrast, the extract had no effect at all when it was delivered by other means, as every one of these tumors continued to grow. This research could open doors to new treatments for what is still one of the biggest killer diseases in many countries," he said.

The research is published in the medical journal Nanomedicine.

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