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LIU Study: Component in Oregano Kills Prostate Cancer Cells

LIU Pharmacy professor presents research on the herb at biology conference in San Diego

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Alka Gupta,Assistant Director, Public Relations
LIU Brooklyn,
Long Island University
718-780-4137

Press releaseBrooklyn, N.Y. – Oregano has long been known to possess a variety of beneficial health effects. Now, a new study by researchers at LIU Pharmacy indicates that an ingredient of this Pizza spice could potentially be used to treat prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in American men.

“We know that oregano possesses anti-bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties, but its effects on cancer cells can really elevate the spice to the level of a super-spice, like turmeric,” said Dr. Supriya Bavadekar, assistant professor of pharmacology at LIU Pharmacy (Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences). Dr. Bavadekar is studying the effects of carvacrol, a constituent of oregano, on prostate cancer cells.

“We tested carvacrol in various concentrations and for different time periods against human prostate cancer cells and were excited to see the complete inhibition of cancer cells,” said Dr. Bavadekar.

She said current treatment options for prostate cancer patients include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy and immune therapy, most of which are associated with considerable complications and adverse effects.

“A significant advantage of oregano is that it is commonly used in food and has a ‘Generally Recognized As Safe’ status in the U.S.,” said the professor.

The results of her study demonstrate that the compound induces apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. Apoptosis, Dr. Bavadekar explained, is programmed cell death, or simply “cell suicide.” Dr. Bavadekar and her graduate students, Bhushan Patel and Vichiksha Shah, are trying to determine the signaling pathways that the compound employs to bring about cancer cell suicide. Though the study is in its preliminary stage, she believes the initial data indicates a huge potential in terms of carvacrol’s use as an anti-cancer agent.

“If the study continues to yield positive results, this super-spice may represent a very promising therapy for patients with prostate cancer,” stated Dr. Bavadekar. “I also want to explore the possibility of other anti-tumor effects of this compound.”

Dr. Bavadekar presented her research findings at the Experimental Biology 2012 conference in San Diego on April 24. The conference is an annual gathering of six scientific societies and draws more than 13,000 scientists and exhibitors from around the world. Dr. Bavadekar’s work was selected by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) for having significant public appeal.

LIU Pharmacy has graduated more than 20,000 students and is celebrating its 125th anniversary year. Last year, the school kicked off a $12.5 million “Our Founding, Our Future” capital campaign to raise funds for research and graduate education initiatives, renovation and new construction projects, and scholarships for its students.

LIU Pharmacy / Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences...
Established in 1886, the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy became affiliated with Long Island University in 1929. In 1976, the College became a fully integrated unit of the University and was renamed the Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. One of the oldest and largest schools of its kind in the country, the College is located on the Brooklyn Campus and boasts an illustrious roster of alumni, including pharmacy professionals who are at the top echelons of their fields, and at the forefront of groundbreaking developments in the pharmaceutical industry. The College educates nearly one quarter of the pharmacists in New York State and many who find careers elsewhere.

Posted 04/25/2012

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