Broccoli Sprouts Join War On Cancer

BroccoliSprouts Join War on Cancer 

TheSunday Telegraph

CatherineElsworth

09-28-1997, pp 08.

SUPERBROCCOLI, said to have powerful properties which help to prevent cancer, couldsoon be on sale in supermarkets. The new form of the vegetable contains veryhigh concentrations of the compound sulphoraphane, which acts as an anti-canceragent by encouraging the body to attack dangerous chemicals that causemalignancy.

Thechance discovery was made after American scientists in Baltimore found thatbroccoli sprouts harvested after just three days contained up to 50 times theconcentration of sulphoraphane as the mature plant. The development was welcomedlast night by British researchers who since 1992, when the protective qualitiesof sulphoraphane were first discovered, have been investigating how theanti-cancer properties of vegetables can be controlled.

Resemblingbean sprouts, the new broccoli is grown in laboratories using normal seeds.Although not genetically modified, it contains consistently high concentrationsof the anti-cancer ingredients and has a pleasant, tangy taste. The team behindit believe the broccoli could be on supermarket shelves by next year.

PaulTalalay, a professor of pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine inBaltimore, who led the research, has for 20 years been concentrating on "chemoprotection",the attempt to boost the body' s own defenses against carcinogens.

"Westarted growing these seeds in the laboratory and made the totally unexpecteddiscovery that they contained enormously high quantities of the substances thatboost the protective enzymes," Prof Talalay said.

"Thisa major milestone in a very long organised research programme to developstrategies for preventing cancer."

Thenew sprouts would enable consumers to eat only a fraction of the amount ofshop-bought broccoli to produce the same effect, he added. The development hasexcited researchers at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, who areinvestigating a range of "super vegetables".

Adiscussion on "super broccoli" will be held at the IFR this week aspart of its session of open days.