Green tea extract known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) seemed to have improved the condition of four patients having chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) in the Mayo Clinic in the United States.
In CLL, a blood and bone marrow cancer, white blood cells are affected. This is supposed to be the most common type of leukemia and normally occurs in persons above the age of 60.
The findings published online in Leukemia Research revealed that the patients showed signs of improvement after they took tablets containing EGCG.
At least, three of the four CLL patients showed signs of their cancer abating.
In fact, a Mayo Clinic study earlier found that EGCG kills leukemia cells which were taken from patients having CLL.
Study author and hematologist Dr. Tait Shanafelt said: “The experience of these individuals provides some suggestion that our previously published laboratory findings may actually translate into clinical effects for patients with the disease.”
He, however, said it was too early to draw any conclusions based on these results. He felt more studies needed to be carried out.
He added: “We do not know how many patients were taking similar products and failed to have any benefit. We also do not yet know the optimal dose that should be used, the frequency with which patients should take the medication, and what side effects will be observed with long-term administration.”
U.S. National Cancer Institute is sponsoring this study at Mayo clinic.
There is no cure as of now for this leukemia.
“The findings are interesting, but we cannot say yet this is a new treatment for cancer,” says Ken Campbell, clinical information officer at the Leukaemia Research Fund.