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"We've seen glimmers of possibilities, and it seems that resveratrol could potentially be very important in treating a variety of cancers," Michael Nicholl says. "It comes down to how to administer the resveratrol." (Credit: Choo Yut Shing/Flickr)

cancer

Grape skin extract before radiation kills more cancer

Resveratrol, a compound found in grape skins and red wine, can make certain tumor cells more susceptible to radiation treatment.

When melanoma cells were treated with resveratrol alone, 44 percent of the tumor cells were killed. When the cancer cells were treated with a combination of both resveratrol and radiation, 65 percent of the tumor cells died.

The research follows a previous study that found similar results treating prostate cancer.

Michael Nicholl, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, says his findings could lead to more research into the cancer-fighting benefits of the naturally occurring compound.

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“We’ve seen glimmers of possibilities, and it seems that resveratrol could potentially be very important in treating a variety of cancers,” Nicholl says. “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. Melanoma is very tricky due to the nature of how the cancer cells travel throughout the body, but we envision resveratrol could be combined with radiation to treat symptomatic metastatic tumors, which can develop in the brain or bone.”

Resveratrol supplements are available over the counter in many health food sections at grocery stores. Nicholl does not recommend that patients rely on resveratrol supplements to treat cancer because more research is needed.

Nicholl’s study was published in the Journal of Surgical Research.

Source: University of Missouri

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