Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have demonstrated that selenium – naturally found in garlic and broccoli – slows down the body’s over-response to certain cancers that leaves patients feeling weak.
The findings, which could improve cancer treatment, have been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Cells undergoing change, such as precursors of cancer cells, normally are recognised and removed by the immune system. Unfortunately, different cancer cells contain mechanisms that block the immune system’s ability to recognise them, allowing them to freely continue cancer development.
“You can say that the stimulating molecules over-activate the immune system and cause it to collapse, and we are, of course, interested in blocking this mechanism,” says Professor Søren Skov, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, at the University of Copenhagen. “We have now shown that certain selenium compounds…effectively block the special immunostimulatory molecule that plays a serious role for aggressive cancers such as melanoma, prostate cancer and certain types of leukaemia.”