Grapes are one of mans most prized fruits. They are delicious, full of flavor, and can even be made into wine. The grape is actually considered a berry and has a history of being enjoyed as far back as 8,000 years ago. It is estimated that nearly 72 million tons of this bountiful fruit are grown every year. They are said to possess a host of beneficial health effects for those who eat them.
Grapes have been found help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of high blood pressure, and even be an effective treatment for acne. New research may add yet another accolade to grapes already long list of benefits.
Researchers have found that compounds in grapes may kill colon cancer stem cells. This was discovered during studies using mice.
The compound is found primarily in grape skin and seeds. The researchers of the study are excited to discover this attribute of grapes as it may eventually lead to treatments to prevent colon cancer.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.
“The combination of [this compound] and grape seed extract is very effective at killing colon cancer cells. And what we’re learning is the combination of these compounds is not toxic to healthy cells,” said Jairam K.P. Vanamala, associate professor of food sciences, Penn State.
The research team goes on to say that targeting stem cells was of vital importance, as cancerous tumors are driven by these cell types. Stem cells are capable of self-renewal, cellular differentiation, and can even maintain their stem cell-like characteristics after cancer invasion and metastasis.
To develop a pill to prevent colon cancer or to reduce the recurrence of the disease in cancer survivors is the main goal of the research team.
Interestingly, the researchers found that taking the compound and grape seed extract separately in supplement form did not prove as effective against cancer stem cell suppression as using these two compounds together.
“This also connects well with a plant-based diet that is structured so that the person is getting a little bit of different types of plants, of different parts of the plant and different colors of the plant. This seems to be beneficial for not only promoting bacterial diversity but also preventing chronic diseases and eliminating the colon cancer stem cells,” said Vanamala.
While more research is needed to understand the mechanisms of these compounds and their anticancer properties, the researchers are optimistic that human trials will be successful.