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Red grapes, the new cancer cure!

March 31, 2005

In the field of cancer research, here is news: eating red grapes could cut the risk of cancer.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have claimed that eating flavanoid-rich red grapes can reduce the growth of an enzyme that triggers growth of cancer cells in the human body.

Red grapesThe dangerous enzyme: Human DNA topoisomerase II. It is responsible for the spread of cancer.

What are flavonoids?

They are a group of organic compounds consisting of numerous water-soluble plant pigments that give colour to plants. They are mostly found in red grapes.

More findings:

The Illinois study published in the Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry enlists the names of all the freshly discovered constituents in grape-cell culture extracts.

The report also provides a detailed description of how some of these components work in tandem against human DNA topoisomerase II.

Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia, a professor in the department of food science and human nutrition, says, "The findings add to the argument for eating whole foods. It is very clear that the synergy is critical. When a cell becomes malignant, that enzyme is expressed 300 times more than in a normal cell.

"If we can find a compound or mixture of compounds that can reduce the activity of that enzyme," she adds, "the cancerous cells will die."

According to Mary Ann Lila, a professor in the department of natural resources and environmental sciences, the current study used advanced moleculer technology with grape-cell cultures and the particular enzyme to identify the anti-cancer strategies.

This also helped trace out those particular flavonoids rich in anti-cancer qualities.

"In our subsequent studies now under way in animal models," says Lila, "we are getting direct evidence that these components in grapes work synergistically in fighting cancer. They have to work together to obtain the potency that works."

According to Lila, researchers might be able to determine reasonable dosages for therapeutic consumption of flavonoid-rich grapes at the end. Supplements containing specific flavonoids probably won't result in desired benefits, because complementary components required for synergistic activity may be missing.

"Some of the compounds we identified have not been reported in cell culture and grapes," adds de Mejia, "Some have high inhibitory activity in the promotion and progression stages of cancer and have a high probability to work against the disease."


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