There might be even more reason to get a healthy serving of vegetables. Researchers at Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have found that sulforaphane, one of the compounds found in broccoli and other vegetables that has been shown to possibly prevent cancer, may also be effective at killing cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected.
Clinical trails are currently being conducted and have shown the sulforaphane may potentially be effective for prostate and breast cancer prevention and treatment. The chemical is an inhibitor of histone deacetylase, or HDAC enzymes, and treatments involving these enzymes have been explored for years as a promising option for alleviating cancer.
"Just because a phytochemical or nutrient is found in food doesn't always mean its safe, and a lot can also depend on the form or levels consumed," said researcher Emily Ho. "But this does appear to be a phytochemical that can selectively kill cancer cells, and that's always what you look for in cancer therapies."
Researchers are currently trying to determine exactly how safe sulforaphane treatment is and how effective this therapy can be for permanently killing cancer cells.