Can pizza be the cure to cancer? According to a new study by researchers at Long Island University, the herb oregano, a key ingredient in most pizza sauces, can potentially be used to treat prostate cancer.
"We know that oregano possesses antibacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties, but its effects on cancer cells really elevate the spice to the level of a super-spice like turmeric," said Dr. Supriya Bavadekar, assistant professor of pharmacology.
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Dr. Bavadekar's research shows that carvacrol, a component of oregano, induces apoptosis or "cell suicide." Bavadekar and her team are currently trying to pinpoint exactly how the compound causes this cancer cell suicide.
This isn't the first time the Italian dish has been associated with cancer-curing properties. "Some researchers have previously shown that eating pizza may cut down cancer risk," Bavadekar said. "This effect has been mostly attributed to lycopene, a substance found in tomato sauce, but we now feel that even the oregano seasoning may play a role."
Though the study is at its preliminary stage, Bavadekar believes the compound in oregano has a huge potential in being used as a 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," she said.
More reasons, as if you needed them, to stand in that 800 Degrees line in Westwood.