In a similar analysis, the team also looked at the effect of papaya extract on the production of antitumor molecules known as cytokines. Papaya was shown to promote the production of Th1-type cytokines, important in the regulation of the immune system. For that reason, the study findings raise the possibility of future use of papaya extract components in immune-related conditions such as inflammation, autoimmune disease and some cancers.
Bharat B. Aggarwal, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, already is so convinced of papaya's restorative powers that he has a serving of the fruit every day.
"We have always known that papaya has a lot of interesting things in there," said Aggarwal, a professor in the center's department of experimental therapeutics who was not involved in the UF research. Foremost among papaya's health-promoting agents is papain, papaya's signature enzyme, which is found in both the fruit and the leaves.
"This paper has not gone too much into identifying the components responsible for the activity, which is just fine. I think that is a good beginning," Aggarwal said.
Aggarwal also noted that papaya extract's success in reducing cancer in laboratory cell cultures must next be replicated in animal and human studies.
"I hope Dr. Dang takes it further, because I think we need enthusiastic people like him to move it forward," Aggarwal said.
|Contact: Elizabeth Connor|
University of Florida