The latest research released on August 31, 2007, from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a division of the of the National Institutes of Health shows that an extract that is made from the skin of muscadine grapes has the ability to slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells in laboratory experiments. This is significant due to the fact that muscadine grape skin extract does not contain any significant amounts of resveratrol. Resveratrol is a component in other grape skins and it has been shown in other studies that it was responsible for preventing prostate cancer growth.
The researchers used a series of human prostate cancer cells that were taken at different stages of the disease. The results showed that muscadine grape skin extract does have a significant impact on inhibiting the growth of cancerous prostate cells, but it does not interfere with normal cells. The way it works is through a process called apoptosis, programed cell death.
Programmed cell death is a natural process that the body uses to dispose of cells with genetic damage before those cells have a chance to duplicate.
Resveratrol, on the other hand appears to block the cell cycle with is the sequence of processes that a cell goes through when it divides itself into two identical cells and both of these process are used by the body to prevent cancer from developing.
The results show that while both resveratrol and muscadine grape skin extract have anti cancer properties, they go about it in different ways. They plan further studies to determine if muscadine grape skin extract has the potential to be a chemopreventive or therapeutic agent.
Another important result of this study is the fact that muscadine grape skin extract affects tumors at different stages of development which indicates that it may be able to inhibit the growth of tumors at every early stages of development.
Muscadine grapes are a very unique strain of the fruit in so far as its chemical composition is richer in chemicals called anthocyanins, which is the compound that produces the red and purple colors of the grapes. Anthocyanins, also have a strong antioxidant.
The next step will be to begin studies in animals. If these tests duplicate the success they had in the lag tests, the next step with be to begin testing in humans and because muscadine grape products which include grape juice and grape wine, have already been used in human studies without reported side effects, they should be safe to use in clinical trials in humans.
Muscadine grapes can be found growing wild from Delaware to the Gulf of Mexico and westward from Missouri to Texas.
Source: National Institute of Health http://www.nih.gov/