Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, peanuts, grapes, and cranberry juice, has been shown to kill pancreatic cancer cells in vitro according to a new study published in the journal Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology.
Researchers divided cancerous pancreatic cells into two groups, one group was treated with a 50 mcg/mL resveratrol solution while the other group did not receive the resveratrol treatment.
The group of cells that received the treatment showed reduced functioning of the mitochondria. A functioning mitochondria is vital to a cell because it produces the majority of its adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which provides the cell with energy.
The resveratrol also interfered with proteins that make up the cell membrane leading to cells that were less resistant to chemotherapy. Furthermore, when chemotherapy was applied to the cancerous cells pre-treated with resveratrol, a process called apoptosis (programmed cell death) was triggered.
Researchers believe that resveratrol may become an important part of cancer therapy because it appears to cripple cancerous cells, making them more sensitive to radiation and chemotherapy treatments while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
Although the research suggests that red wine can kill pancreatic cancer cells in vitro, research studies attempting to directly link red wine consumption to lower rates of pancreatic cancer have produced mixed results. One study, published in the International Journal of Cancer in 1990 found no correlation between red wine and pancreatic cancer. A second study, also published in the International Journal of Cancer, found a link between white wine and a reduction in pancreatic carcinomas however no link existed for red wine.
The anti-cancer benefits of red wine have been established for other forms of cancer however: a study published in 2006 found that men who drink four or more glasses of red wine each week were half as likely to develop prostate cancer compared to men who did not drink red wine. Moderate red wine consumption of between 1 and 3 glasses a day has also been linked to lower rates of colon cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, and coronary heart disease.
Red wine contains resveratrol at concentrations of around 5 to 10 micrograms/milliliter but can be as high as 40 micrograms/mililiter in some wines. Other rich sources of resveratrol include peanuts, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, white wine (which contains about 1/10th of the resveratrol found in red wine) and grape juice.
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