Ironically, saccharin, the main ingredient in those little pink packets of Sweet 'N Low, may actually be able to fight certain cancers, say University of Florida researchers. Unfortunately for you coffee lovers, it doesn't work by simply adding it to your morning cup—it’s a bit more complicated than that. Saccharin can bind to and deactivate something called carbonic anhydrase IX, a protein that aids the growth and spread of breast, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas and brain cancer cells according to the findings.
The research team is currently testing the effects of saccharin and saccharin-based compounds on breast and liver cancer cells. If successful, these experiments could lead to animal and human studies and, eventually, the development of new cancer treatments. The researchers say these new saccharin-based drugs would be superior to current treatments because they’d have the ability to slow the growth of affected cells and, potentially, make them less resistant to chemoradiation therapies—without affecting the healthy, surrounding tissues.
These findings are being presented today at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.