Scientists may soon be able to crop up new cancer treatments, thanks to resveratrol and quercetin.
The two polyphenols that have been widely studied for their health properties, may soon become the basis of an important new advance in treating the deadly disease, primarily by improving the efficacy and potential use of an existing chemotherapeutic cancer drug.
Researchers at Oregon State University developed a system to increase the bioavailability of these compounds in the body by using “copolymers” that make them water soluble and allow their injection into the blood stream, creating levels that are far higher than could ever be obtained by diet or oral intake.
Lead author on the research and assistant professor Adam Alani said that the findings had great potential to improve chemotherapeutic cancer treatment, as the study showed that it significantly reduced the cardiac toxicity of Adriamycin. And these compounds possess a synergistic effect that enhances the efficacy of the cancer drug, by sensitising the cancer cells to the effects of the drug.
Although highly effective in the treatment of lymphomas, breast, ovarian and other cancers, Adriamycin can only be used for a limited time in humans because of its cardiotoxicity.
The co-administration of these polyphenols might allow much more extensive use of this drug, while at the same time improving its efficacy and demonstrating the polyphenols’ own anti-cancer properties, scientists said.
Resveratrol is a natural compound found in foods such as grapes, red wine, green tea, some fruits, berries and dark chocolate, and has been the subject of dozens of scientific studies for its various health values. Quercetin, also a powerful antioxidant, reaches some of its highest natural levels in capers, some berries, fruits, vegetables and leafy greens.
The findings are published in the Journal of Controlled Release.