(NaturalNews) Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is one of the most aggressive and deadly forms of breast cancer. It is harder to detect, grows the fastest, spreads earlier to other parts of the body and recurs more often. What's more, the arsenal of drugs and chemicals currently used by mainstream medicine to treat TNBC are so toxic that patients often can't tolerate the treatment -- and chemotherapy is often ineffective anyway.
But at the 2012 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition underway in Chicago, scientists have just announced what they say is an "effective treatment" for TNBC. The key to this discovery? Compounds derived from diindolylmethane (DIM), a natural-occurring chemical commonly found in various types of cruciferous vegetables, especially Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
"We are confident that the compounds we are currently working with are an effective treatment for triple-negative breast cancer. These compounds are safer for the patient than current treatments available," said Mandip Sachdeva, Ph.D., who made the breakthrough along with his Florida A&M University colleagues Chandraiah Godugu, Ph.D. and Stephen Safe, Ph.D., from Texas A&M University.
This could be a huge advancement in the treatment -- and possible prevention -- of TNBC. The aggressive and very often deadly disease accounts for approximately 15 to 20 percent of all breast cancer cases in the U.S. It's called "triple-negative" because it doesn't express the genes for an estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) or HER2 (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2). So scientists have been stymied at finding a chemo regime that could go after a specific target. Instead, there's been a "shotgun" approach of various chemicals that hope to stop the spread of the disease, but rarely, if ever, do.
"Targeted treatment options for TNBC are limited; current treatments, such as infusions, result in poor patient compliance and increased toxicity," Sachdeva stated, explaining that diindolylmethane compounds are safer for breast cancer patients than current treatments available.
In fact, unlike existing anticancer drugs, the diindolylmethane compounds are orally active. That means they could be available to be taken in pill form and should be safe to take every day.
Of course, the race is now on to create a Big Pharma synthesized version of the vegetable-derived chemical. However, the discovery adds more evidence to previous research showing that a variety of plants contain natural anti-cancer compounds.
Natural News readers were alerted back in 2010 that scientists at Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center at Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and the Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James) had discovered that a substance in broccoli and Brussels sprouts specifically blocks the growth of breast cancer cells. And, as Natural News has previously reported, apigenin (a common compound found in parsley and other plant products) appears to have anti-breast cancer properties as does a natural chemical used in traditional Indian medicine that is derived from the roots of Withania somnifera (also known as Ashwagandha), Indian ginseng, Winter cherry, Ajagandha and Kanaje Hindi.
About the author: Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA''''s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine''''s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic''''s "Men''''s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.