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Coffee may hold key to fighting cancer, heart disease

Coffee may hold key to fighting cancer, heart disease
Category: Coffee in the News
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Synopsis: Scientists in Britain say they have found common compounds occurring in drinks, such as coffee and tea, could form the basis for new drugs to attack cancer and heart disease.

Coffee may hold key to fighting cancer, heart disease

Scientists in Britain say they have found common compounds occurring in drinks, such as coffee and tea, could form the basis for new drugs to attack cancer and heart disease.

The scientists at the University College London, say new research has shown caffeine and theophylline, both found in coffee, tea, cola drinks and chocolate, could help block cell growth and blood clotting.

They say the research suggests that along with possible advances in cancer treatment, caffeine-type drugs could be used to treat heart disease and inflammatory illnesses.

However they have warned people not to overdose on coffee or chocolate, saying the next stage of research will be to develop compounds which mimic the structure of caffeine but without its negative effects.


Tea benefits

Meanwhile, women who drink green tea daily can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by almost 60 per cent compared with non-tea drinkers, according to a new study.

Perth's Curtin University said the study focused on more than 900 women in China and was carried out in collaboration with researchers at Zhejiang Cancer Hospital in Hangzhou, China.

Researchers from the university's school of public health said they found that while benefits were greatest for women drinking green tea, other varieties also provided protection against cancer.

The findings have been published in the current issue of the American Association for Cancer Research journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

The university's professor of public health, Colin Binns, a nutrition expert, said the research showed women who drank tea daily for many years could reduce their risk of the cancer by as much as 77 per cent compared to non-tea drinkers.

Researchers chose to go outside Australia to give them bigger numbers of women to study, the university said.

China's big population made it easier to obtain the sample sizes needed for internationally recognised studies.

Mr Binns said the study covered 254 women with confirmed ovarian cancer and 652 without cancer.

He said information on the frequency, type and duration of tea consumption was collected through interviews, and the risk of ovarian cancer among tea drinkers took into account other factors such as smoking, oral contraceptive use, physical activity and family history of ovarian cancer.

Results suggested daily drinking of tea, particularly green tea, offered women a high degree of protection from the cancer.

The study found the risk of developing ovarian cancer was considerably less in women with increased tea consumption and years of tea drinking.

When different types of tea were examined, the protective effect for black or oolong tea was evident only when these were consumed daily.

"Green tea seems to have the strongest influence but any type of tea consumed daily produced beneficial effects in terms of a substantial reduction in the incidence of ovarian cancer," Mr Binns said.

He said that ovarian cancer was the seventh most common cancer in women and the leading cause of death among gynaecological cancers.

 



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