Study: Grapes inhibit cancer growth
January 10, 1997
Web posted at: 8:20 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- More good news for grape-lovers: The
fruit of the vine may fight cancer.
Coming on the heels of studies that found red wine helps keep
the heart healthy, researchers have discovered a substance
in grapes that protects against cancer.
The study, published in this week's journal Science, found
that the substance called resveratrol can block cancer during
three major stages of development before a tumor appears.
"It's a very exciting lead in terms of cancer-chemo
prevention," said John Pezzuto, leader of the research group
behind the study at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"It makes much more sense, I think, to try and block these
steps and prevent the tumor," he added, "rather than waiting
until you see a tumor."
Resveratrol was discovered after hundreds of tests in search
of anti-cancer compounds. The compound has been tested only
in cell cultures and laboratory animals.
In an 18-week study of mice, doses of resveratrol reduced the
number of skin tumors by up to 98 percent compared with skin
cancers on control mice.
Resveratrol is found in 70 different plants, including
mulberries and peanuts, but grapes and grape products are the
richest source. All wines have some resveratrol, Pezzuto
said, but the highest concentration is in red wine.
Drinking wine not the answer
Pezzuto emphasized that the key to good health does not lie
at the bottom of a wine bottle. In fact, to match the daily
intake the mice received, one would have to drink the
equivalent of five gallons of wine a day.
Pezzuto suggested the study, instead, suggests a diet loaded
with fruits and vegetables as a defense against cancer.
Phyllis Bowen, a registered dietitian, praised the study's
results, saying it provided quality preventative cancer
Dr. Michael J. Wargovich, a cancer researcher at M.D.
Anderson Hospital in Houston, said the discovery of
resveratrol "really hits a home run in the range of activity
it has against cancer." The finding, he said, also suggests
that there may be even more powerful compounds in other
Correspondent Linda Ciampa contributed to this report.
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