Research has shown for the first time that grape seed can aid the effectiveness of chemotherapy in killing colon cancer cells as well as reducing the chemotherapy’s side effects as per University of Adelaide research.
Published in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers say that combining grape seed extracts with chemotherapy has potential as a new approach for bowel cancer treatment — to both reduce intestinal damage commonly caused by cancer chemotherapy and to enhance its effect. Lead author Dr Amy Cheah says there is a growing body of evidence about the antioxidant health benefits of grape seed tannins or polyphenols as anti-inflammatory agents and, more recently, for their anti-cancer properties. Unlike chemotherapy, grape seed appears to selectively act on cancer cells and leave healthy cells almost unaffected.
“This is the first study showing that grape seed can enhance the potency of one of the major chemotherapy drugs in its action against colon cancer cells,” says Dr Cheah, researcher in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.
The researchers used commercially available grape seed extract, a by-product of winemaking. Tannins extracted from the grape seed were freeze-dried and powdered. The extract was tested in laboratory studies using colon cancer cells grown in culture.
Co-author and project leader Professor Gordon Howarth says: “Grape seed is showing great potential as an anti-inflammatory treatment for a range of bowel diseases and now as a possible anti-cancer treatment. These first anti-cancer results are from cell culture and the next step will be to investigate more widely.”