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Coffee compounds may reduce prostate cancer risk

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Besides being the perfect morning drink, coffee may also play a role in delaying prostate cancer, finds a study, which may pave the way for treating drug-resistant cancer.

Scientists from Kanazawa University in Japan have identified kahweol acetate and cafestol — hydrocarbon compounds naturally found in Arabica coffee — which may inhibit growth of prostate cancer.
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The pilot study showed kahweol acetate and cafestol can inhibit growth in cells that are resistant to common anti-cancer drugs like Cabazitaxel.

“We found that kahweol acetate and cafestol inhibited growth of cancer cells in mice, but the combination seemed to work synergistically, leading to a significantly slower tumour growth than in untreated mice,” said lead author Hiroaki Iwamoto.

For the study, presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Barcelona, the team tested six compounds, naturally found in coffee, on proliferation of human prostate cancers cells in vitro (i.e. in a petri-dish).

They found cells treated with kahweol acetate and cafestol grew more slowly than controls. They then tested these compounds on prostate cancer cells, transplanted to mice (16 mice).

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“After 11 days, the untreated tumours had grown by around three and a half times the original volume (342 per cent), whereas tumours in the mice treated with both compounds had grown by just over one and a half (167 per cent) times the original size,” Iwamoto said.

It also showed the growth reduction occurred in transplanted tumour cells, rather than in native tumour cells.

Although “these are promising findings, but they should not make people change their coffee consumption,” cautioned Professor Atsushi Mizokami from the varsity.

“Coffee can have both positive and negative effects. We need to find out more about the mechanisms behind these findings before we can think about clinical applications. But if we can confirm these results, we may have candidates to treat drug-resistant prostate cancer,” Mizokami noted.

Corona

Men produce more Covid antibodies than women says study

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On average, men produce more Covid-19 antibodies than women, say Portuguese researchers, adding that, 90 per cent of the patients have detectable antibodies up to seven months post contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The results, published in the European Journal of Immunology, also show that age is not a confounding factor in levels of antibodies produced, but disease severity is.

“Our immune system recognizes the virus SARS-CoV-2 as harmful and produces antibodies in response to it, which helps to fight the virus,” said study author Marc Veldhoen from Medicina Molecular Joao Lobo Antunes in Portugal.

For the findings, the research team set up an in-house sensitive specific and versatile Covid-19 serology test.

They started to monitor the antibody levels of over 300 Covid-19 hospital patients and healthcare workers, and over 200 post-Covid-19 volunteers.

The results of this six months cross-sectional study show a classic pattern with a rapid increase of antibody levels within the first three weeks after Covid-19 symptoms and, as expected, a reduction to intermediate levels thereafter.

“In this early response phase, on average men produce more antibodies than women, but levels equilibrate during the resolution phase and are similar between the sexes in the months after SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Veldhoen said.

In the acute phase of the immune response, the team observed higher antibody levels in patients with more severe disease.

Also, the results show that age is not a confounding factor for the production of antibodies, as no significant differences were observed between age groups.

Globally, 90 per cent of participants have detectable antibodies up to seven months post contracting Covid-19.

Next, the research team evaluated the function of these antibodies, i.e. their neutralizing activity against the virus SARS-CoV-2.

Also, the research team analysed the neutralizing capacity of the antibodies produced by the patients and volunteers.

“Our work provides detailed information for the assays used, facilitating further and longitudinal analysis of protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2,” Veldhoen said.

Importantly, it highlights a continued level of circulating neutralising antibodies in most people with confirmed SARS-CoV-2.

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