Often cri icised and avoided by many for their sugar content, grapes are also considered a healthy option due to the powerful antioxidants they pack, known as polyphenols, which may slow or prevent many types of cancer.That said, a study has come out in support of this fact saying that the compounds, found in the skin and seeds of grapes, may help in killing colon cancer stem cells. The third most common cancer in the world – colon cancer or colorectal cancer – victimizes one in 22 men and one in 24 women around the world. The compounds, resveratrol, which are found in grape skins and seeds, could also eventually lead to treatments to help prevent colon cancer, said Jairam K.P. Vanamala from Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. “The combination of resveratrol and grape seed extract is very effective at killing colon cancer cells,” Vanamala added. The researchers suggest that the findings could pave the way for clinical testing of the compounds on human colon cancer, which is the second most common cancer in women and the third in men.If successful, the compounds could then be used in a pill to help prevent colon cancer and lessen the recurrence of the disease in colon cancer survivors.

Vanamala noted that according to cancer stem-cell theory, cancerous tumors are driven by cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are capable of self-renewal, cellular differentiation and maintain their stem cell-like characteristics even after invasion and metastasis. When taken separately in low doses, resveratrol and grape seed extract are not as effective against cancer stem-cell suppression as when they are combined together, according to the researchers. “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,” said Vanamala. For the animal study, they separated 52 mice with colon cancer tumors into three groups, including a control group and groups that were fed either the grape compounds or sulindac, an anti-inflammatory drug, which was chosen because a previous study showed it significantly reduced the number of tumors in humans.

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