Compound in grapes, red wine could be key to fighting prostate cancer

November 10, 2012, University of Missouri-Columbia
Scientists at MU have found that treatment with a compound found in grape skins and red wine could increase the chances of a full recovery from all types of prostate cancer, including aggressive tumors. Credit: Christian Basi/University of Missouri

Resveratrol, a compound found commonly in grape skins and red wine, has been shown to have several beneficial effects on human health, including cardiovascular health and stroke prevention. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has discovered that the compound can make prostate tumor cells more susceptible to radiation treatment, increasing the chances of a full recovery from all types of prostate cancer, including aggressive tumors.

"Other studies have noted that resveratrol made more susceptible to chemotherapy, and we wanted to see if it had the same effect for ," said Michael Nicholl, an assistant professor of in the MU School of Medicine. "We found that when exposed to the compound, the tumor cells were more susceptible to radiation treatment, but that the effect was greater than just treating with both compounds separately."

Prostate tumor cells contain very low levels of two proteins, perforin and granzyme B, which can function together to kill cells. However, both proteins need to be highly "expressed" to kill tumor cells. In his study, when Nicholl introduced resveratrol into the prostate tumor cells, the activity of the two proteins increased greatly. Following radiation treatment, Nicholl found that up to 97 percent of the tumor cells died, which is a much higher percentage than treatment with radiation alone.

University of Missouri scientists have found that resveratrol can make prostate tumor cells more susceptible to radiation treatment. Credit: Nathan Hurst/University of Missouri

"It is critical that both proteins, perforin and granzyme B, are present in order to kill the tumor cells, and we found that the resveratrol helped to increase their activity in prostate tumor cells," Nicholl said. "Following the resveratrol-, we realized that we were able to kill many more tumor cells when compared with treating the tumor with radiation alone. It's important to note that this killed all types of prostate tumor cells, including aggressive tumor cells."

Resveratrol is present in grape skins and and available over-the-counter in many health food sections at grocery stores. However, the dosage needed to have an effect on tumor cells is so great that many people would experience uncomfortable side effects.

"We don't need a large dose at the site of the tumor, but the body processes this compound so efficiently that a person needs to ingest a lot of resveratrol to make sure enough of it ends up at the tumor site. Because of that challenge, we have to look at different delivery methods for this compound to be effective," Nicholl said. "It's very attractive as a therapeutic agent since it is a natural compound and something that most of us have consumed in our lifetimes."

Nicholl said that the next step would be to test the procedure in an animal model before any clinical trials can be initiated. Nicholl's studies were published in the Journal of Andrology and Cancer Science. The early-stage results of this research are promising. If additional studies, including animal studies, are successful within the next few years, MU officials will request authority from the federal government to begin human drug development (this is commonly referred to as the "investigative new drug" status). After this status has been granted, researchers may conduct human clinical trials with the hope of developing new treatments for cancer.

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5 comments

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DavidW
2 / 5 (5) Nov 10, 2012
...or perhaps it is not eating flesh.

It is basically unheard of for a man living on balanced vegan diet to get any cancer. Wake up world. Humans are not designed for the digestion of flesh. Nor do we like the sounds of death, Nor do we like the smell of death. Nor do we like the sight of death. Any questions, then feel free to eat raw rotting flesh off the street like a dog or a cat. You won't last long.
Silverhill
4.5 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2012
It is basically unheard of for a man living on balanced vegan diet to get any cancer.
Give data, please (from an impartial and reliable source, of course).

Note that it is unheard of for a human to not die of pernicious anemia from the lack of vitamin B-12, unless animal tissue is eaten. (This changed only recently, with the development of the ability to obtain B-12 from microbial cultures -- something our evolutionary ancestors could not do.)

Humans are not designed for the digestion of flesh.
Our dentition and digestive chemistry disagree with you. We are omnivores, like it or not.

Nor do we like the sounds of death, Nor do we like the smell of death. Nor do we like the sight of death.
Tastes vary, you know. Revulsion concerning death is not a universal.

feel free to eat raw rotting flesh off the street like a dog or a cat. You won't last long.
Our chemistry does not have to match that of an obligate carnivore for omnivorousness to be true.
Newbeak
not rated yet Nov 10, 2012
I have been taking a research grade form of resveratrol for some years now.Research indicates it protects against heart disease:http://www.scienc...95060451 and: http://europepmc....JAK008.6
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (13) Nov 10, 2012
It is basically unheard of for a man living on balanced vegan diet to get any cancer.

Give data, please (from an impartial and reliable source, of course).
Plenty of data on new age bullshit but most of it is made up.
Humans are not designed for the digestion of flesh.
The apes we are decended from, and are related to, are omnivores. In fact a large percentage of our diets was at times human flesh. Hunting and fighting are little different, the tactics often the same. The next tribe is always a little less human than you yes?

And in times if chronic overpopulation and the resulting conflict over scarce resources, why kesve all that good protein scattered about the battlefield?

Humans are immune to certain prions which is direct evidence for endemic cannibalism. Bush meat is the favorite among many primitive African tribes and as apes are mostly us, this is more evidence.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (13) Nov 10, 2012
I have been taking a research grade form of resveratrol for some years now.Research indicates it protects against heart disease:http://www.scienc...95060451
But like the article says it is easily digested and quantities great enough to have any effect would have unpleasant side effects. And be enormously expensive.
Tastes vary, you know. Revulsion concerning death is not a universal.
It could be that different people have different tendencies? Some of us may tend to be grazers and some hunters. Species want to diverge, to seek out new niches. Some deer will eat meat.

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