A team of researchers has identified an active component in grape seed extracts that is effective in killing cancerous prostrate cells without harming the healthy cells.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center revealed how the synthesized active compound, B2G2, in grape seed extracts, induces cell death called apoptosis in prostate cancer cells.
"We've shown similar anti-cancer activity in the past with grape seed extract (GSE), but now we know B2G2 is its most biologically active ingredient which can be synthesized in quantities that will allow us to study the detailed death mechanism in cancer cells," says Alpna Tyagi, PhD, of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Almost 80 percent of men who reach 80 and above are diagnosed with prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men. In the U.S. nearly 196,038 men were diagnosed with this cancer in 2010 and almost 28,560 died from it.
There are different treatments available for this cancer. These researchers have identified a naturally occurring compound to treat the cancer. The scientists worked for more than a decade to show the anti cancer activity of GSE in laboratory conditions.
Studies done earlier have revealed the effectiveness of GSE against cancer cells and have also explained the mechanism. But it was unclear as to which constituent triggered this effect.
Grape seed extract consists of several polyphenols and till date not much was known about the biologically active constituent of GSE that was effective in fighting the dangerous cancer cells.
It was in this study that the researchers identified B2G2 as the most active compound. Although inexpensive, this technique is time consuming as it takes a lot of time to isolate B2G2 from the grape seed. Therefore, the researchers did not opt to purify B2G2 from GSE and decided to synthesize it.
"Our goal all along has been a clinical trial of the biologically active compounds from GSE against human cancer. But it's difficult to earn FDA approval for a trial in which we don't know the mechanisms and possible effects of all active components. Therefore, isolating and synthesizing B2G2 is an important step because now we have the ability to conduct more experiments with the pure compound. Ongoing work in the lab further increases our understanding of B2G2′s mechanism of action that will help for the preclinical and clinical studies in the future," Tyagi concluded.