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Drink Up


A new study done by researchers at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shows that a compound found in green tea has promise to treat two types of tumors, according to a Danforth Center press release. Researchers have long known that glutamate dehydrogenase, found in all living organisms and responsible for the digestion of amino acids, is controlled by a complex network of metabolites. However, it was unknown why animals required GDH regulation, while other organisms did not, the press release says. It was later discovered that disregulation of GDH can lead to at least one congenital disease — hyperinsulinism/hyperammonemia — in which patients respond to protein consumption by over-secreting insulin and becoming hypoglycemic. But in studying the differences between plants and animals, the Danforth Center team — which recently published its work in The Journal of Biological Chemistry — found that there are two compounds found naturally in green tea that are able to compensate for this disregulation by turning off GDH, the press release says. In addition, two other research teams have found that blocking GDH with green tea compounds is effective at killing glioblastomas and the benign tumors of tuberous sclerosis complex disorder. The team hopes to be able to synthesize the compounds and use them in the development of drugs for all of these conditions, the Danforth Center adds.

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