Coffee stops cancer! Again!

Illustration for article titled Coffee stops cancer! Again!

Coffee! Is there anything it can't do? We've already seen it linked to dropped rates of breast and prostate cancer, and now it seems to guard against skin cancer too.


Okay, to be fair, it's caffeine that's the cause this time. Red Bull, tea, black black gum, you're all in on this one.

We've actually known for a little while that ingesting caffeine can help prevent squamous cell carcinoma, but it hasn't really been understood how — until now. Caffeine, it seems, inhibits ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related enzyme — better known as ATR. When this enzyme is out of the way, DNA-damaged cells are far more likely to die.

Rather than slathering mice in caffeine in order to pick apart if this was the reason, researchers bred a mouse with significantly diminished ATR function in their skin, and put them in an intense UV environment. Compared to their normal cousins, they remained tumor-free for significantly longer, and had fewer tumors when they did develop.

The benefit is prophylactic; researchers believe the ATR inhibition is useful for preventing cancer from forming.


The researchers suggest a topical caffeine sunscreen could be used — it would serve double duty, both in limiting ATR and directly absorbing the UV radiation. I'm betting ThinkGeek already has this covered...

Photo by Umberto Shtanzman via Shutterstock


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"Coffee! Is there anything it can't do?" Revealing the speed of light?

Seriously, you where sitting besides Esther when you wrote that first sentence, weren't you?