When it comes to cancer, every day there are millions of researches being done worldwide and treatment strategies being investigated for the hope of free-cancer in the future.
In a recent study done by the Department of Science in Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University and Departments of Food Technology and biotechnology, Korea National University of Transportation, published on 3rd of May 2017 they suggested that Barley grass extract (Hordeum vulgare L.; Bex) has an anti-tumor activity particularly for both breast and prostate cancer. Unlike anti-cancer drugs that remain till today with their unwanted side-effects, herbal medicine is always better in this area.
Barley grass was shown in the study to induce apoptosis in cancer cell-lines of breast and prostate cancer by increasing the reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. They performed all experiments in triplicates; they treated the cancer cells with different concentrations of Barely grass at different time intervals. Barely was able to show a reduction in cancer-cell viability in a dose-dependent manner.
The study also showed that, Barely induced caspase activation (which are needed for cell-death) and poly ADP ribose polymerase(PARP) cleavage (which are involved in several cellular processes such as DNA repair, genomic stability, and apoptosis) in the breast cancer cells. Thus, proving again that barely causes cancer-cell apoptosis.
For measuring barley’s ability to decrease the ROS, they treated the cancer cells with 100 μg/ml barley for 1 h, then detected it fluorometrically using flow cytometry, the data indicated that Barley ‑induced ROS accumulation is essential for apoptosis. Furthermore, Meta-analyses indicated before that cereal can decrease cancer risk, so with this study, it serves as a proof for the benefits of dietary components such as barley in cancer prevention and treatment.
In conclusion, Bex induction of ROS was crucial for apoptotic cell death. While the chemical components to produce ROS and induce apoptotic cell death in those breast and prostate cancer cells require further investigation, this is the first study, to the best of our knowledge, that shows the role of Bex in cancer cell death.
You can check the full study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449973/