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Wine Compound 'Resveratrol' may Protect against Cancer

Oct 12, 2013 07:01 AM EDT
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(Photo : Flickr/ desegura89)

Resveratrol, a compound found in grape skin and wine can make tumor cells more susceptible to radiation therapy.

The study, conducted by researchers at University of Missouri, found that 44 percent of melanoma cells were killed when researchers used only resveratrol. A combination of radiation and the compound killed 65 percent of the cancer cells.

Previous research conducted on prostate cancer cells, too, showed that resveratol is effective in destroying cancer cells.

"Our study investigated how resveratrol and radiotherapy inhibit the survival of melanoma cells. This work expands upon our previous success with resveratrol and radiation in prostate cancer. Because of difficulties involved in delivery of adequate amounts of resveratrol to melanoma tumors, the compound is probably not an effective treatment for advanced melanoma at this time," said Michael Nicholl, assistant professor of surgery at the MU School of Medicine.

Resveratrol is found in grapes and in many over-the counter drugs, but people shouldn't take these drugs to enhance radiation therapy as researchers aren't sure of the best dosage that can make radiation therapy more effective.

"We've seen glimmers of possibilities, and it seems that resveratrol could potentially be very important in treating a variety of cancers," Nicholl said in a news release. "It comes down to how to administer the resveratrol. If we can develop a successful way to deliver the compound to tumor sites, resveratrol could potentially be used to treat many types of cancers."

The study is published in the Journal of Surgical Research.

Is Red Wine Really that Great?

For years, researchers have been trying to find the potential uses of resveratrol. Many studies have shown that it protects against heart disease, fights aging and even some cancers. However, health experts warn that it is too early to jump to any conclusions about the compound as research concerning the safety of the compound is quite limited.

Patrick J. Skerrett, Executive Editor, Harvard Health says that people shouldn't buy resveratrol supplements based on new studies that seem to pop-up every now and then. Skerrett advises people to "go natural" and eat grapes, berries and even occasionally indulge in their favourite red wine to get all the resveratrol plus other beneficial compounds that their body requires, instead of depending on pills.

Note that most of the research concerning the efficacy of the compound is limited to in vitro studies, and not human trials. Always talk to your doctor before taking up any new kind of supplements. 

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