Grape extract kills cancer cells

Grapes contain potentially beneficial chemicals that can destroy cancer cells, a new research proves.
In lab experiments , US researchers from the University of Kentucky led by Xianglin Shi found that the extract stimulated leukaemia cells to commit suicide.Within 24 hours, 76 per cent of leukaemia cells exposed to the extract were killed off, while healthy cells were unharmed. The study raises the possibility of new cancer treatments, but scientists said it was too early to recommend that people eat grapes to ward off cancer.

Grape seeds contain a number of antioxidants, including resveratrol, which is known to have anti-cancer properties, as well as positive effect on the heart. Previous research has shown grapeseed extract has an effect on skin, breast, bowel, lung, stomach and prostate cancer cells in the laboratory. It can also reduce the size of breast tumours in rats and skin tumours in mice. This study is the first to test its impact on a blood cancer, according to the researchers.

The researchers exposed leukaemia cells to grape extract in a range of different doses. One of the higher doses produced a marked effect, causing large numbers of the cells to commit suicide in a process known as apoptosis. This is a natural method of getting rid of damaged and potentially dangerous cells. When the mechanism behind apoptosis breaks down, cancerous cells can survive and multiply.

The researchers found grapeseed extract activates a protein called JNK which helps to regulate apoptosis. When they exposed the leukaemia cells to an agent that inhibits JNK, the grapeseed extract effect was cancelled out. Silencing the gene that makes JNK also blocked the extract's ability to kill cancer cells.
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