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Red Wine Compound May Help Treat Cancer

Update Date: Oct 11, 2013 04:28 PM EDT

Resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes and wine, may help treat cancer.

New research on melanoma cells reveals that the antioxidant can make certain tumor cells more susceptible to radiation treatment. Previous studies on prostate cancer cells revealed similar results.

"Our study investigated how resveratrol and radiotherapy inhibit the survival of melanoma cells," Michael Nicholl, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Missouri said in a news release.

"This work expands upon our previous success with resveratrol and radiation in prostate cancer. Because of difficulties involved in delivery of adequate amounts of resveratrol to melanoma tumors, the compound is probably not an effective treatment for advanced melanoma at this time," he added.

Researchers found that melanoma cells treated with resveratrol are more susceptible to radiation compared to cells that were not treated with the naturally occurring compound.

The study also revealed that when 44 percent of tumor cells were killed when treated with resveratrol alone, and 65 percent of tumor cells died when treated with a combination of both resveratrol and radiation.

Researchers said that latest findings could pave the way to more research into the cancer-fighting benefits of resveratrol.

"We've seen glimmers of possibilities, and it seems that resveratrol could potentially be very important in treating a variety of cancers," Nicholl said.

"It comes down to how to administer the resveratrol. If we can develop a successful way to deliver the compound to tumor sites, resveratrol could potentially be used to treat many types of cancers. Melanoma is very tricky due to the nature of how the cancer cells travel throughout the body, but we envision resveratrol could be combined with radiation to treat symptomatic metastatic tumors, which can develop in the brain or bone," he said.

The findings are published in the Journal of Surgical Research

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