The cabbage, like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, belongs to the cruciferous family. In their cells they accumulate a real chemical arsenal, a substance belonging to the family of glucosinolates, made of sulfur, nitrogen, glucose and some amino acids. There are about one hundred different substances of this type and they are responsible for the typical aroma of these vegetables.
Broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts contain a molecule that can contriubute to turn off a gene, which science has identified as one of the main actors in the growth of a tumor. This demonstration comes from an international study, coordinated by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of Harvard Medical School, whose results are published in the journal Science.
The researchers started from the study of a gene called Pten; in human tumors this gene is very often affected by mutations or is silenced, so that the disease develops more easily.
The researchers identified the molecules that regulate the function and activation of this gene. They then performed experiments. The study showed that there is another gene, Wwp1 – also known to be involved in the development of tumors, which produces an enzyme (a small protein) that, in turn, inhibits the ability of the gene Pten to suppress the tumor.