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Copper-resveratrol can't treat cancer, but can reduce toxicity: Tata hospital

March 02, 2024 00:23 IST

A research by the Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai has shown that a combination of copper and resveratrol can reduce the toxicity of treatments like chemotherapy, but it is not a substitute for the established cancer treatments, it said on Friday.

Image used for representational purpose only. Photograph: Courtesy Tara Winstead/

The effectiveness of copper plus resveratrol, including its tablet formation, in reducing toxicity or increasing cures in cancer patients remains to be established and is currently under investigation, said Pankaj Chaturvedi, deputy director, Centre for Cancer Epidemiology, TMC.


“It should be noted that resveratrol plus copper, including its tablet formation, is not a substitute for established cancer treatment like surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapy, which have been conclusively proven to provide benefits and result in cures in a substantial proportion of patients,” the statement said.

There is a need for more human studies with a larger sample size, it added.

Earlier this week, the TMC had said a study showed that dying cancer cells release cell-free chromatin particles (cfChPs, or fragments of chromosomes) which can turn healthy cells into cancerous ones. Some of the cfChPs may fuse with healthy chromosomes and cause new tumours.

The study also examined whether chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, which generate dying cancer cells, could contribute to cancer's metastatic spread.

To do this, researchers led by Prof Indraneel Mittra from the Translational Research Laboratory, TMC, ACTREC, grafted human breast cancer cells in immune-deficient mice to generate tumours.

The mice then received treatment in the form of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery; half of them also received agents that deactivate or destroy cfChPs.

The researchers not only found the presence of human DNA (cfChPs) and cancer proteins in the mice brains, but observed that these had increased markedly after treatment, especially after chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

However, the mice that had received compounds to deactivate or destroy cfChPs had minimal human cfChPs or cancer proteins in their brains.

The TMC on Friday said the research further showed that combination of copper and resveratrol, a commercially available nutraceutical, in specific ratios degrade cell-free chromatin in pre-clinical, in vitro and experimental animal studies.

In experimental animal studies and preliminary and Phase II human clinical studies, there was some evidence that the use of copper plus resveratrol could reduce toxicity of chemotherapy.

“Additional human studies with larger sample sizes are required and are underway to find out whether these findings apply to human patients or not,” it stated.

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