Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Leukemia Patients Benefit From EGCG in Clinical Trial

A research team from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., last week released results of a clinical trial suggesting that an antioxidant found in green tea can benefit patients with a common type of leukemia.

A Mayo Clinic team led by Drs. Tait Shanafelt and Neil Kay were following up on previous, promising research in laboratories, on animal tissue and then on human cells. They administered capsules containing high doses (400 to 2,000 milligrams each) of epigallocatechin gallate, an antioxidant in green tea, to 33 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which a news release described as "the most common subtype of leukemia in the United States."

One-third of participants experienced a reduced lymphocyte count, and the majority of individuals who entered the study with enlarged lymph nodes saw a 50-percent or greater decline in their lymph node size, the release stated.

Shanafelt said, "We found not only that patients tolerated the green tea extract at very high doses, but that many of them saw regression to some degree of their chronic lymphocytic leukemia."

Although blood tests can help diagnose CLL early on, there is no cure for the disease, and treatment requires letting it progress. About half of CLL patients have an aggressive form of it that leads to early death. According to the release, "Researchers hope that EGCG can stabilize CLL for early stage patients or perhaps improve the effectiveness of treatment when combined with other therapies."

A follow-up study to this one is already underway. A video interview with Shanafelt can be seen here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the timely post DonnaLynn! I am haivng dinner with a dear friend tonight who has CLL. She has recently been taken off treatment and told to get her affairs in order. I'm not willing to let her go, and I know she's not going to give up without a fight. I'll take this article to her. Even if it's too late to help her, she can at least enjoy some fine green tea before the end of her days.


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