MANCHESTER-born business-woman Katherine Swift has been the driving force behind Salford University scientific research which has now discovered that Matcha green tea can halt the growth of breast cancer stem cells.
The scientific team at Salford University, led by Professor Michael Lisanti, has been working on the study for over two years. Katherine Swift, the founder of OMGTea, met Michael whilst project managing a major UK breast cancer research appeal back in 2010, spurred on by the diagnosis of her mother’s stage 3 breast cancer.
OMGTea supplied the high grade Japanese Matcha tea for the purposes of the study which has confirmed that Matcha tea shifts cancer cells towards a ‘quiescent metabolic state’ and ‘completely stops their propagation at a relatively low concentration (0.2 mg/ml).
Katherine has been dedicated to supporting research for the disease which affects one in eight women in the UK*, and founded the charity Healthy Life Foundation to raise funds to support ground-breaking research into age related diseases.
“Katherine was the driving force behind this study and donated the necessary product for testing,” said Michael Lisanti, Professor of Translational Medicine at Salford University. “I have always been interested in natural products for cancer prevention and/or treatment so to finally have this positive research which confirms the effects of Matcha green tea on breast cancer stem cells is a very important first step forward.
“Matcha green tea fits very well with our interest in natural products. Our finding could also help explain why lifespan in Japan is among the highest in the world,” he adds
The study finds that analysis of the signalling pathways by which cells feed, indicated that Matcha Green tea strongly affected mTOR signals, weakening components of the 40S ribosome, which raises the possibility that Matcha tea could be used in place of chemical drugs such as rapamycin in the treatment of breast cancer.
“Matcha green tea is a natural product used as a dietary supplement with great potential for a range of treatments. But the molecular mechanism underpinning all that remains largely unknown,” said Professor Lisanti.
“By using metabolic phenotyping, we found that the tea is suppressing oxidative mitochondrial metabolism, in other words it is preventing the cells from ‘fuelling’ and forcing them to become inactive and die.
Although the tests were limited to cell lines, the effects were described as ‘striking’; and having a “surgical effect” in knocking out certain signalling pathways.
“Our results are consistent with the idea that Matcha may have significant therapeutic potential, mediating the metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells,” added Professor Lisanti.
Following her mother’s diagnosis of breast cancer in 2010 Katherine travelled to Japan to source the highest grade Matcha tea leaves which have been proven to contain 137 times the antioxidants found in normal green tea.
“When I met Professor Lisanti by chance through my work with a fundraising appeal in Manchester, I was literally punching the air because I had such a great feeling of positivity about the research in antioxidants that he was involved in at the time,” said Katherine.
“I am so thrilled with the results of this study and feel that finally we are going some small way to proving the potential healthful and curative effect this beautiful green powder could have,” said Katherine.
“I am committed to spreading the word about the health benefits of organic Matcha Green Tea and started my company to primarily supply the highest grade Matcha to consumers in the UK and that is a very important legacy for me,” said Katherine.
OMGTea is now available at http://www.omgteas.co.uk and also stocked across the country in stores including Planet Organic, Harvey Nichols, Fenwicks, Daylesford Organic and Revital.