Meet cancer's latest enemy: grape seed extract

Once again, a common food may contain a cancer cure.

This time, grapes have the magic ingredient. Scientists at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and the Skaggs School of Pharmaceutical Sciences used grape seed extract to kill head and neck cancer cells in mice, and the treatment left healthy cells alone, according to UCCC's Colorado Cancer Blogs.

Details are published in the journal Carcinogenesis. Here's the short version of what they found: Scientists tested grape seed extract on both head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in mice. The substance appeared to damage DNA in the cancer cells and reduce the level of Brca1 and Rad51 DNA repair molecules in those cells, halting the cancer cells' repair pathways. Mice in the study also reacted well to the treatment, which appeared non-toxic, according to the blog item.

Lead investigator Rajesh Agarwal hopes to test the substance in clinical trials and envisions using it some day as a second-line therapy. It will be years before grape seed extract serves as a cancer treatment, and that's if the researchers are able to reproduce their results in people.

Still, the finding is a promising one that follows a number of research discoveries involving the potential use of certain foods in fighting cancer. In recent weeks, a compound derived from fish oil appeared to fight leukemia, at least in mice, and substances found in common fruit and vegetables offered promise in beating back colon cancer.

- here's the blog item

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