A new study shows that resveratrol, a compound found in grape skins and red wine, can make certain tumor cells more susceptible to radiation treatment, which could pave way for the creation of a wonder pill to kill cancerous cells.
This research, which studied melanoma cells, follows a previous University of Missouri study that found similar results in the treatment of prostate cancer.
The next step is for researchers to develop a successful method to deliver the compound to tumor sites and potentially treat many types of cancers.
“Our study investigated how resveratrol and radiotherapy inhibit the survival of melanoma cells,” Michael Nicholl, MD, assistant professor of surgery at the MU School of Medicine and surgical oncologist at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in Columbia, Mo, said.
“This work expands upon our previous success with resveratrol and radiation in prostate cancer. Because of difficulties involved in delivery of adequate amounts of resveratrol to melanoma tumors, the compound is probably not an effective treatment for advanced melanoma at this time,” he said.
The study found that melanoma cells become more susceptible to radiation if they were treated first with resveratrol.
The MU researcher found that when the cancer was treated with resveratrol alone, 44 percent of the tumor cells were killed.
When the cancer cells were treated with a combination of both resveratrol and radiation, 65 percent of the tumor cells died.
Nicholl said that his findings could lead to more research into the cancer-fighting benefits of the naturally occurring compound.
The study is published in the Journal of Surgical Research, the journal for the Association for Academic Surgery.