Amazing discovery suggests this popular sweet could save you from pancreatic cancer

A study by Hong Kong Baptist University shows that a chemical found in liquorice could help fight one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

This popular sweet could help fight cancer
This popular sweet could help fight cancer

Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, around 15% of people survive for 3 years after diagnosis. The Mirror has reported this new study suggests a compound found in liquorice could help improve current methods of treatment.

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What is this chemical and how does it fight cancer?

It’s called Isoliquiritigenin (ISL), and scientists have found that it is effective in suppressing pancreatic cancer. On Monday, 7 August, the team of scientists who worked on the study explained why they are hopeful ISL could play a part in finding better treatment for cancer patients.

In laboratory experiments carried out on mice, the scientists found that ISL lowered the survival rate of cancer cells. Even better, it improved the efficiency of drugs commonly used to treat the disease.

Facts and figures

The scientist explained that using a unit 30 milligrams per kilogram of ISL on a tumour reduced its size by around 500 cubic millimeters. To put this into context, that means it halved the tumour they used in the control experiment.

ISL could help reduce side effects for cancer patients

An associate professor at the university’s School of Chinese Medicine explains the study. Joshua Ko Ka-Shan believes it is worth pursuing this line of research, especially when it comes to chemotherapy. He explains that ISL works through a natural process called autophagy blockage, during which ‘the body’s cells clean out damaged or unnecessary components’. He explains that, in their experiment, the blockage of ‘late-stage autophagy’ results in ‘cancer death’.

Read more: These foods you eat everyday increase risk of cancer

Should cancer patients eat lots of liquorice?

Ko Ka-Shun has anticipated the potential reaction to this news and warns people not to over-consume liquoricein the hope that this will protect them. The Hong Kong Standard reports that Mr Ko Ka-Shun is hoping to set up trials for pancreatic cancer patients in Europe and China.

How to know if you have pancreatic cancer

According to the NHS, you should visit your GP if you have noticed a significant amount of weight loss and have symptoms of the disease that do not get better within two weeks. Symptoms include jaundice, bleeding in the stomach or intestine, feeling more thirsty than usual and passing dark yellow urine.

Read more:

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Sources used:

The Mirror: Chemical found in popular sweet suppresses 'silent killer' pancreatic cancer

Cancer Research UK: Survival for pancreatic cancer

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