Cabbage could be the key to protecting people from radiation during cancer therapy, new research has shown.
The Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre study found that a compound derived from cruciferous vegetables - such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli - protected rats and mice from lethal doses of radiation.
The American researchers' work suggests the compound, already shown to be safe for humans, may protect normal tissues during radiation therapy for cancer treatment, and prevent or mitigate sickness caused by radiation exposure.
The compound - known as DIM - previously has been found to have cancer preventative properties. But the study's corresponding author, Doctor Eliot Rosen, said: "This is the first indication that DIM can also act as a radiation protector."
The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.