Business correspondent Seth Vogelman reports that Israeli researchers from the Technion - The Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa - have discovered beneficial effects of pomegranate seed oil in the battle against breast cancer. According to the research, directed by Dr. Ephraim Lansky, pomegranate seed oil causes the cancer cells to self-destruct. The juice of the fruit is toxic to most breast cancer cells, yet has almost no effect on healthy cells. Furthermore, \"pomegranates seem to replace the estrogen often prescribed to protect postmenopausal women against heart disease and osteoporosis,” explained Dr. Lansky, yet they “selectively [destroy] estrogen-dependent cancer cells.”

The researchers presented the results of two studies at an international conference in Madrid this past June. “This is apparently a safe substance that could be helpful to many people, especially women at high-risk for developing breast cancer,” said Dr. Martin Goldman, a New York-based internist. Pomegranate oil and juice have been shown to be “a potential new avenue to develop anti-cancer drugs from a natural compound,” commented Dr. Lajos Pusztai, an assistant professor studying breast cancer at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Other health benefits of pomegranates tested by the Technion researchers include the ability to lower oxidation of cholesterol, leading to the elimination of blockages in arteries.