Pheophorbide a, a moiety of chlorophyll a, induces apoptosis in human lymphoid leukemia Molt 4B cells.
Hibasami, H. et. al. Int. J. Mol. Med. 2000. 6(3):277-9
Background: Pheophorbide is a product that occurs when chlorophyll—the green plant pigment—breaks down. Pheophorbide can sensitize cancer cells to light (photosensitization) and is currently being investigated as an anti-cancer agent. In this study, the researchers looked at the ability of pheophorbide to slow the growth of a leukemia cell line (Molt 4B) and to force the cancer cells into a kind of pre-programmed cell death called apoptosis.
Laboratory Studies: These researchers looked at how pheophorbide caused the DNA in the tumor cells to break apart into smaller, un-useable pieces or fragments.
Conclusions: The study showed that pheophorbide works to kill off cancer cells by causing the DNA in the cancer cells to break apart into smaller non-functional pieces. The breakdown of the DNA resulted in the eventual death of the cancer cells.