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Finnish research: Cysteine Chewing Gum as a cure for cancers of the mouth

iva either after a challenge of alcohol or during smoking. The methods developed by the research groups of Salaspuro and Marvola have been patented world wide. The owner of the patents is nowadays Finnish company Biohit Oyj. The first commercial product based on this patented method is l-cysteine containing chewing gum that was launched on the market in the 11th International Congress of Oral Cancer on May 14-17, in Italy. ‘We know that with this chewing gum it is possible to eliminate acetaldehyde totally from the saliva during smoking.

We do hope that this will in the future turn out to be a novel method for the prevention of alcohol and tobacco smoking associated oral cancers. However, long term randomised controlled trials are naturally needed before the possible cancer preventive effects can be proved. We are currently planning that type of studies’, says Salaspuro. With the saliva carcinogenic acetaldehyde is distributed after swallowing to the pharynx, oesophagus and stomach. Consequently, the effects of l-cysteine may extend to the whole upper digestive tract area.

On the other hand, carcinogenic acetaldehyde can be produced also endogenously by the oral microbes from various foodstuffs with high sugar or carbohydrate content, especially in an achlorhydric stomach. Atrophic gastritis and achlorhydria are well known risk factors of gastric cancer. Therefore, in addition to the chewing gum, also other cysteine containing preparations are under development. The goal is to develop new products releasing slowly cysteine in different parts of the gastrointestinal tract by which acetaldehyde can be eliminated not only in the mouth but also in the stomach and may be also in the large intestine.

Source: Eurekalert
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