A new research has shown that an extract made from a food plant in the Brassica family was effective in alleviating signs of ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel condition, in mice.
After the discovery of plant-derived compound called Phenethylisothiocyanate, or PEITC, which showed potential anti-inflammatory activities, Moul Dey from South Dakota State University will now examine the potential use of this plant extract against colon cancer.
PEITC is found in the Brassica genus of plants, which includes cabbage, cauliflower, watercress and broccoli.
"There is an established link between ulcerative colitis and colon cancer. People who have ulcerative colitis are at significantly higher risk to have colon cancer," Dey said.
"Whether this plant extract might help with colon cancer symptoms directly or perhaps delay the onset of colon cancer in ulcerative colitis patients, we don't know the answers to those questions, but it is something we would like to look into.
"I tested this substance in a mouse model that is already established and widely used. What we found is that it not only alleviates several clinical signs of ulcerative colitis - for example, it attenuates the damage that occurs in the colon tissues and colon epithelium, as well as the clinical signs like diarrhea and blood in stool. The weight loss is a major sign in colitis and that was alleviated, too," Dey added.
However, she revealed that obtained results might not always be same in humans.
They also found that this compound down regulates many of the genes that are known to be upregulated in human patients with colitis. One such protein is a novel transcription factor, one of the groups of proteins that read and interpret the genetic "blueprint" in the DNA.
"We are excited about these findings and our next step would be to see how this plant and the compounds from this plant may be effective against colon cancer, alleviating colon cancer or preventing the onset of colon cancer," Dey said.