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Grape seed promise in fight against bowel cancer
Date:2/14/2014

University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that grape seed can aid the effectiveness of chemotherapy in killing colon cancer cells as well as reducing the chemotherapy's side effects.

Published in the prestigious journal PLOS ONE, the researchers say that combining grape seed extracts with chemotherapy has potential as a new approach for bowel cancer treatment to both reduce intestinal damage commonly caused by cancer chemotherapy and to enhance its effect.

Lead author Dr Amy Cheah says there is a growing body of evidence about the antioxidant health benefits of grape seed tannins or polyphenols as anti-inflammatory agents and, more recently, for their anti-cancer properties.

"This is the first study showing that grape seed can enhance the potency of one of the major chemotherapy drugs in its action against colon cancer cells," says Dr Cheah, researcher in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

"Our research also showed that in laboratory studies grape seed taken orally significantly reduced inflammation and tissue damage caused by chemotherapy in the small intestine, and had no harmful effects on non-cancerous cells. Unlike chemotherapy, grape seed appears to selectively act on cancer cells and leave healthy cells almost unaffected."

The researchers used commercially available grape seed extract, a by-product of winemaking. Tannins extracted from the grape seed were freeze-dried and powdered. The extract was tested in laboratory studies using colon cancer cells grown in culture.

The research showed grape seed extract:

  • showed no side effects on the healthy intestine at concentrations of up to 1000mg/kg;
  • significantly decreased intestinal damage compared to the chemotherapy control;
  • decreased chemotherapy-induced inflammation by up to 55%
  • increased growth-inhibitory effects of chemotherapy on colon cancer cells in culture by 26%

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Contact: Dr. Amy Cheah
ker.cheah@adelaide.edu.au
61-433-910-099
University of Adelaide
Source:Eurekalert

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