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Could pizza sauce contain a cure for prostate cancer?

Maybe. If the pizza sauce has enough oregano in it, eating pizza could help treat prostate cancer, according to new research being conducted at Long Island University.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. Current treatment options for patients include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy and immune therapy. If this preliminary research pans out, eating pizza might just be added to these treatment options. Oregano is frequently used in pasta and pizza sauces.

Dr. Supriya Bavadekar, PhD, RPh, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at LIU's Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, is leading the research that's testing carvacrol, a constituent of oregano, on prostate cancer cells.

"We know that oregano possesses anti-bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties, but its effects on cancer cells really elevate the spice to the level of a super-spice like turmeric," said Dr. Bavadekar in a news release. Though the study is at its preliminary stage, she believes that the initial data indicates a huge potential in terms of carvacrol's use as an anti-cancer agent. "A significant advantage is that oregano is commonly used in food and has a 'Generally Recognized As Safe' status in the US. We expect this to translate into a decreased risk of severe toxic effects."