Results of a recent study have suggested that bitter melon extract, a common dietary supplement, may help protect women from breast cancer cell growth.
"Our findings suggest that bitter melon extract modulates several signal transduction pathways, which induces breast cancer cell death," said lead researcher Ratna Ray, professor in the department of pathology at Saint Louis University. "This extract can be utilized as a dietary supplement for the prevention of breast cancer."
In the study, researchers found that bitter melon extract, which is commonly used in the East as a folk remedy for diabetes because of its blood sugar-lowering properties, was capable of decreasing cell growth and division, and even induced death in some breast cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.
Although Ray believes that the supplement will not cure cancer, she does feel that it may delay or even prevent cancer cell metastasis.
However, the researchers stress that their findings were established in a laboratory, and haven’t been tested on humans. They note that it is important to first establish the validity of their results in animal models before recommending the addition of bitter melon extract to a person’s diet.