St Louis University

A look at the karela in relation to cancer research

Recent research seems to indicate that the Asian fruit known as the karela or bitter melon shows promise in slowing the progression of cancer. It has properties that prevent cancer from growing and spreading.

Bitter melon, which is cooked like a vegetable and has seeds like a fruit, stops cancer cells in their tracks, St Louis University research found. Conducted in the laboratory and in mice, the research has not yet been tried in people, but points to bitter melon as a potential alternative therapy to complement traditional cancer treatments, the researcher says.

“All animal model studies that we’ve conducted are giving us similar results, an approximately 50% reduction in tumor growth,” said Ratna Ray, Ph.D., professor of pathology at St Louis University in Missouri. “Our next step is to conduct a pilot study in cancer patients to see if bitter melon has clinical benefits and is a promising additional therapy to current treatments.”

Ray, who received her doctorate degree from the University of Calcutta and grew up in India eating bitter melon, began studying whether the fruit, which is a folk medicine for diabetes, also could protect against cancer.

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