Primarily, parietin, which is also found in different forms of lichen, works as a protective agent against blue and ultraviolet light from the sun. However, the researchers found that this pigment effectively kills cancer cells. This was initially observed through in vitro investigations which showed that parietin treatment killed half of the leukemia cells in a study culture within 48 hours.
The findings of an in vivo experiment conducted in mice also supported these results. In this study, they used a more potent form of parietin called S3 and administered it in mice with lung cancer. After 11 days, the growth of lung cancer cells in treated mice was cut by a factor of three. What makes these results even more promising is that parietin was only lethal to cancer cells but not to healthy cells. This is a great advantage over conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy which also target healthy tissue. (Related: Chemotherapy revealed as toxic poison for every living cell in the human body: Mitochondrial dysfunction warning from researchers.)
Researchers from Emory University were also able to determine the mechanism through which parietin works. Based on their observations, this pigment inhibits the production of an enzyme called 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6PDGD), which drives cancer growth. According to Professor Jing Chen, who is one of the authors of the study, cancer cells need a certain level of 6PDGD to grow. If the amount of this enzyme falls, the growth of cancer cells will decrease as well.
Chen added that this is "part of the Warburg effect," which explains how cancer cells acquire energy. This was named after Otto Heinrich Warburg who was the first to observe that unlike healthy cells, cancer cells are fueled anaerobically by glycolysis and fermentation. This change in metabolism is believed to be the root cause of cancer mutation. By inhibiting 6PDGD production, parietin effectively stops part of the cancer metabolic chain, which leads to the starvation and death of cancer cells.
If you'd like to read more news stories and studies on other foods that can combat cancer, visit FoodCures.news.