Chocolate compound stops cancer cell cycle, study shows

Georgetown University researchers have shown that an ingredient found in chocolate seems to exert anticancer properties.

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By  Stuart Qualtrough Published  April 19, 2005

Georgetown University researchers have shown that an ingredient found in chocolate seems to exert anticancer properties, suggesting that it could be used one day to design novel cancer treatments. The study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics and funded by Mars Incorporated, explains how pentameric procyanidin (pentamer), a compound found in cocoa, deactivates a number of proteins that appear to work in concert to push a cancer cell to continually divide. Chocolate is made from the beans of cacao trees, which, like some other plants, are rich in natural antioxidants known as flavonoids. These antioxidants may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals, which are thought to contribute to both heart disease and cancer development. The primary family of flavonoids contributing to the antioxidant benefit in chocolate is the procyanidins, and of the various types of procyanidins, pentamer seem to be strongest, according to a number of studies.

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