Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Carrots and Parsley Assist Chemotherapy

New Zealand researchers have identified compounds in carrots and parsley that may lead to more effective delivery of chemotherapy treatments.

Scientists at Plant & Food Research, working with researchers at The University of Auckland and the National Cancer Institute of The Netherlands, isolated specific plant compounds that inhibit transport mechanisms in the body that select which compounds are absorbed into the body and eventually into cells. These same transport mechanisms interfere with chemotherapy treatment.

The research, published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, showed that falcarinol-type compounds in carrots and parsley may support the delivery of drug compounds that fight breast cancer by addressing the over-expression of breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2), which enables some malignant tissues to become resistant to chemotherapy.

“Our work is uncovering new means to alter how the body absorbs specific chemical and natural compounds,” says Dr Arjan Scheepens of Plant & Food Research. “Ultimately we are interested in how food could be used to complement conventional treatments to potentially deliver better results for patients.”