Peach pits the focus of some breast cancer research

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SARASOTA, Fla. - According to a new study from Washington State University and Texas A&M University, an anti-oxidant found in peaches may help stop the growth and spread of breast cancer.

Researchers find a compound present in peaches and plums could subdue breast cancer cells in a petri dish. Now, new findings of mice injected with breast cancer cells, fed peach polyphenols -- which plants use to protect against UV radiation from the sun -- shows promise. But, does this mean peaches could stop breast cancer?

“There are many different types of natural recurring, common fruits that we might eat. However, when we are looking at peaches, it's not the peaches themselves or the apricot themselves, it’s the seed within that,” says Dr. J.E. Williams of Florida Integrative Medical Center.

Now peach polythenols are showing promise at shrinking tumors in lab mice. But this is not the first time a fruit or its components have been touted with cancer fighting benefits. You may have heard of laetrile.

“Well, laetrile is from the bitter almond seed, or the pit of a peach-like or apricot-like fruit.” Dr. Steven Mamus of Cancer Center of Sarasota Manatee says exercise caution when considering findings of new studies, including breast cancer-fighting fruits, because some, including laetrile, have been around for a while.

“The drug was discovered almost two hundred years ago. In the late 1890's, the drug was looked at in Germany as a possible anti-cancer therapy and was found to have no activity and a lot of toxicity, including cyanide poisoning.”

Even celebrities jumped on the laetrile bandwagon, hoping for a cure. “Steve McQueen, who was a famous actor, developed a cancer of his lung, and went to Mexico and was treated with laetrile. In the press at that time, it was all glowing reports of how well he was doing on the laetrile. He died shortly after starting it.”

Dr. John Monhollon of Florida Integrative Medical Center says fruit seeds may offer health benefits if eaten in moderation. He sends some patients to the health food store for apricot seeds. “A natural source of leatrile provides cyanide, that supposedly kills cancer cells, so my feeling is, why not? It won’t hurt anything and you have to eat something.”

In this new study of peaches, mice fed the highest amounts of polyphenols after twelve days had smaller tumors and less of the blood vessel production and enzymes tumors need to spread or metastasize.

There is more to it than eating a bushel of peaches to fight disease.