New research carried out by the UCL Institute of Child Health and Brunel University has revealed that green tea can hold back the growth of cancer.

GTThe study, based on a mouse model, shows that the use of catechins extracted from green tea leaves can suppress the growth of, one of the most fatal forms of childhood cancers (Neuroblastoma) by boosting the body’s own anti-tumour response. Sparks, the charity funding the study, hopes the research will lead to the development of less toxic treatments for children with cancer.

Professor Arturo Sala, at Brunel University, said: “Aggressive neuroblastoma can be one of the most difficult cancers to treat in children and new non-toxic approaches are needed. Green tea extracts are currently being used in clinical trials for adult the US and could be potentially useful in children with neuroblastoma as well as other cancers. We’ve found that the extract acts to stop the neuroblastoma cancer producing a type of cell known as myeloid suppressor cell, which prevents the immune system from attacking tumours. I sincerely hope our efforts have helped unlock new non-toxic methods to boost the body’s innate defence against neuroblastoma”

John Shanley, chief executive of Sparks, said: “Funding research that helps prevent, diagnose, treat and cure conditions affecting the health of children is at the heart of what Sparks does. Our funding into less toxic cancer treatments brings with it hope of improved treatments for children for neuroblastoma and other forms of childhood cancers.”

The team are now looking to begin clinical trials in which a clinical grade catechin extract of green tea leaves, known as Polyphenon E, will be combined in treatments for children with relapsed neuroblastoma, or who are undergoing cancer immunotherapy.

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