Cheers! Red wine kills cancer

March 26th, 2008 - 3:12 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 26 (IANS) A natural antioxidant in grape skins and red wine can help kill cancer cells in the pancreas by crippling the cells’ core energy source, says a new study. The study also showed that when the pancreatic cancer cells were doubly assaulted, pre-treated with antioxidant resveratrol and irradiated, it induced cell death called apoptosis, an important goal of cancer therapy.

Resveratrol is known for its ability to protect plants from bacteria and fungi.

Purified versions have been described in scientific journals as potential anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic agents, and for their ability to modulate cell growth.

Findings of the study have been published in the latest edition of the journal Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology.

Other natural antioxidants include caffeine, melatonin, flavonoids, polyphenols, and vitamins C and E.

A flurry of antioxidant studies lately has not proven how and why they work at the cellular level.

At the suggestion of a young scientist in his lab, Paul Okunieff of the University of Rochester and co-author of the study began studying resveratrol as a tumour sensitiser. That’s when they discovered its link to the mitochondria.

The discovery is critical because, like the cell nucleus, the mitochondria contains its own DNA and has the ability to continuously supply the cell with energy when functioning properly.

Cutting off the energy flow theoretically stops the cancer. The research has many implications for patients, said lead author Paul Okunieff, chief of Radiation Oncology at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Centre at the University of Rochester.

Although red wine consumption during chemotherapy or radiation treatment has not been well studied, most physicians would not tell the patient to give it up during treatment. Perhaps a better choice, Okunieff said, would be to drink as much red or purple grape juice as desired.

“Antioxidant research is very active and very seductive right now,” Okunieff said. “The challenge lies in finding the right concentration and how it works inside the cell.”

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