Grapeseed Hope for Leukaemia Sufferers
A SUPPLEMENT made from grape seeds can destroy leukaemia cells, scientists have discovered.
In laboratory experiments, grapeseed extract that is commercially available forced the cancer cells to commit suicide. Within 24 hours, 76% of leukaemia cells exposed to the extract died through a process of natural self-destruction called apoptosis. Healthy cells were unharmed.
The US researchers believe the discovery could open the door to promising new treatments.
But they warn it is too early to justify recommending that people eat grapes or take grapeseed extract to stave off cancer.
Grape seeds contain a number of antioxidant plant chemicals including resveratrol, which is known to have anti-cancer properties.
Previous research has shown that 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. It has never before been tested on a blood cancer.
Professor Xianglin Shi, from the University of Kentucky in Philadelphia, who led the research, said: "These results could have implications for the incorporation of agents such as grapeseed extract into prevention or treatment of haematological (blood) malignancies and possibly other cancers. …