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Cranberry Could Juice Up Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Date:8/21/2007

In lab experiments, it boosted drugs' killing power 6-fold

TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Gulping down a glass of cranberry juice might greatly boost an ovarian cancer patient's sensitivity to chemotherapy, a new study suggests.

In laboratory experiments, pre-treating ovarian tumor cells with the juice bumped up the cancer-killing power of drugs sixfold, researchers say.

The study authors stressed that the finding is still experimental and preliminary, but it could offer a new option for patients whose ovarian cancer has become resistant to treatment.

"This was surprising and encouraging," noted study lead author Ajay P. Singh, a research associate and natural products chemist in the department of plant biology and plant pathology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.

"We don't consider them to be a drug, but cranberries are already very well known to have antioxidants that boost the immune system and body strength, prevent urinary tract infection and help fight cardiovascular disease. So, we knew that cranberries would certainly not harm cancer patients. And now, we found that they actually increase sensitivity to chemo several-fold," he said.

The finding was to be presented Tuesday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society being held this week in Boston.

Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the United States and the fifth leading cause of cancer death among American women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Chemotherapy treatment commonly centers on so-called "platinum drugs", such as cisplatin and paraplatin. However, many women develop therapeutic resistance, necessitating the use of ever-higher doses that in turn raise the risk for both nerve damage and kidney failure.

To assess cranberries' ability to alleviate this problem, Singh and Rutgers colleagues Dr. Laurent Brard and Rakesh K. Singh teame
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