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FRIDAY, March 10 (HealthDay News) -- An extract from dried papaya slows the growth of cancer cells in the laboratory, researchers report.
It's not clear if it will have the same effect on cancer in people, however.
University of Florida researcher Dr. Nam Dang and Japanese colleagues report that the papaya extract appears to affect the regulation of the body's immune system and doesn't cause side effects by harming normal cells.
The findings reflect the use of papaya by indigenous people in Australia and Vietnam, Dang, a professor of medicine, said in a news release from the university.
"Based on what I have seen and heard in a clinical setting, nobody who takes this extract experiences demonstrable toxicity; it seems like you could take it for a long time -- as long as it is effective," he said.
The researchers report that four strengths of papaya leaf extract slowed the growth of 10 types of cancer cell cultures, including cancers of the cervix, breast, liver, lung and pancreas.
The study was published in a recent issue of Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
-- Randy Dotinga
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