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Tea may prevent cancer

Published:Wednesday | January 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Tea may protect against endometrial cancer, but more research is needed before it is clear if the antioxidant-rich beverage offers a real benefit, a recent analysis found. Tea is the second most-consumed beverage in the world, after water, and multiple studies have looked into whether or not the drink brewed from the plant Camellia sinesis protects against various types of cancer. Animal studies have shown that the polyphenols found in tea may have a tumour-shrinking effect, but results focusing on endometrial cancer have not shown a clear benefit.

Endometrial cancer - which forms in the lining of the uterus - is the fourth most common cancer in American women. The National Cancer Institute says there are 42,000 new cases in the United States each year, and nearly 7,800 deaths. Researchers from the National Shanghai Center for New Drug Safety Evaluation and Research in China analysed several published studies looking at the role of green and black tea in the prevention of endometrial cancer.

Source: Reuters Health

A molecule that blocks HIV

Researchers say they have discovered an agent that appears to make sexual transmission of HIV less likely. The molecule, called surfen, has the potential to become an ingredient in topical microbicides that aim to reduce the likelihood of infection through semen, according to the report released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Surfen is a small molecule that interferes with the action of a factor in semen called "semen-derived enhancer of viral infection," or SEVI.

"Surprisingly, although HIV readily replicates once inside the body, the virus struggles to establish a beachhead of infection during sexual transmission," Dr Warner Greene, senior author of the new study, explained in a news release from the Gladstone Institutes. "We have been studying SEVI, a naturally occurring factor present in semen that can make HIV thousands of times more infectious. Knowing more about surfen, a SEVI inhibitor, might enable us to lower transmission rates of HIV."

SEVI is thought to increase the likelihood of HIV infection by 100,000 times in some cases because it appears to help the virus attach to cells.

Source: HealthDay News