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U of IL at Chicago College of Dentistry Professors Receive Grant to Study Green Tea Effects
Professors at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry have received a National Cancer Institute grant for their research "Green tea effects on gene expression in tobacco users."
An earlier pilot study noninvasively obtained cells from human smokers, and showed green tea can reverse some early effects of carcinogen exposure in some people.
"Some years ago Dr. Schwartz did a pilot study with a very small group of patients that showed smokers drinking five cups of green tea showed less signs of damage to their oral mucosa from the tobacco," Dr. Adami explained.
The hypothesis of the newly funded study is that cells obtained from the mouth, using noninvasive methods, can be employed to determine what consumption of five cups of green tea per day does to the epithelial cell functions in tobacco smokers. A goal is providing a testable method to detect green tea induced changes associated with tumor inhibition so individuals who might benefit from green tea consumption can be rapidly identified.
"Vitamin D, Vitamin E, selenium, carotene, and green tea cachetins have all been proposed as cancer chemoprevention agents over the last two decades," Dr. Adami said. "Of these, green tea is the closet to having shown efficacy.
“We wish to be able to show that green tea works to block the type of damage to the mucosa that precedes oral cancer caused by tobacco. Tobacco causes an increase in cell proliferation, reduction in programmed cell death and an increase in damaged DNA--all things that can lead in time to cancer.
Green tea is one of the few agents that has shown efficacy in inhibiting a variety of cancers, though like all preventatives the data is mixed as it is so hard to do the studies," Dr. Adami continued. "Our method of focusing on the early changes should allow us to identify how green tea works to help prevent oral cancer due to smoking. A key aspect of our work is that sample acquisition is painless and requires no biopsy."
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of eleven agencies that constitute the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry is celebrating its 100th year as a college of the University of Illinois in 2013 with special events throughout the year under the theme “A Proud Past, A Brilliant Future.” -30-
William S. Bike