13th November, 2012 by Andy Young
Research has indicated that a compound found in red wine could make prostate tumour cells more susceptible to radiation therapy.
With Movember well underway there is a focus on men’s health this month and scientists hope they may have made a key breakthrough in prostate cancer treatment.
It has previously been claimed that red wine can have a positive effect on cardiovascular health and stroke prevention as well as helping decrease prostate cancer. This breakthrough shows the compound, called resveratrol, can help with the treatment of prostate cancer.
Researchers from the University of Missouri have found, for the first time, that resveratrol makes prostate tumour cells more susceptible to radiation treatment. Resveratrol is found in red wine and grapes skins.
Professor Michael Nicholl, from the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine said: “Other studies have noted that resveratrol made tumour cells more susceptible to chemotherapy, and we wanted to see if it had the same effect for radiation therapy.
“We found that when exposed to the compound, the tumour cells were more susceptible to radiation treatment, but that the effect was greater than just treating with both compounds separately.”
However, the resveratrol dosage needed to have an effect on the tumour cells is so high that most people would experience uncomfortable side effects. So scientists are looking at a more effective delivery method.
Professor Nicholl added: “We don’t need a large dose at the site of the tumour, but the body processes this compound so efficiently that a person needs to ingest a lot of resveratrol to make sure enough of it ends up at the tumour site.
“Because of that challenge, we have to look at different delivery methods for this compound to be effective.”
The next stage for the treatment is animal testing before clinical trials can begin. If the trials are successful, it could lead to a significant development in cancer treatment in the next few years.
Researcher Dr Axel Thompson said: “This is an extremely exciting development that has the potential to form the basis of a revolution in prostate cancer treatments over time if replicated in humans.
“By targeting the fibroblasts that control the growth of the cancer these new treatments could be both more effective and likely to lead to significantly fewer side effects.”