Indian bitter melon, popularly known as ‘Karela’ in India, astonished an Indian-origin researcher at Saint Louis University. As per Ratna Ray, PhD., a professor in the pathology department at Saint Louis University and lead researcher, the extract from this common vegetable in India deters the growth of breast cancer cells. Maybe in the future, it will help find a cure for Breast Cancer.
Note: The post was published in 2009 and has been updated with more info.
Karela: A Miracle cure for Breast Cancer
Let’s rewind. As discussed in my previous article about breast cancer, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research, globally, India accounts for almost six percent of deaths due to breast cancer. One out of 22 Indian women is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Bitter melon is available commonly both in India and China. If further research can work out that bitter melon extracts can help deter breast cancer, it will be a practical approach by including it in our daily diet.
This medicinal plant’s fruit and leaves are used as an anthelminthic and for curing piles, leprosy, and jaundice. It also helps in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
According to the report published at NCBI, the treatment with Bitter melon results in autophagy and apoptotic cell death in tumors. Here is a quote from their abstract
This study observed that BME treatment induces autophagosome-bound Long chain 3 (LC3)-B and accumulates protein p62/SQSTM1 (p62) in breast cancer cells. Additionally, we observed that BME treatment in breast cancer cells increases phospho-AMPK expression and inhibits the mTOR/Akt signaling pathway.
Subsequently, we demonstrated that BME feeding effectively inhibited breast cancer growth in syngeneic and xenograft mouse models. Further, we observed the increased p62 accumulation, induction of autophagy, and apoptotic cell death in tumors from BME-fed animals.
Let us all hope this research gets funded and a cure for cancer in the coming years.