Even though initial data showed they had found a very promising compound that could fight a number of cancers, including malignant pleural mesothelioma, researchers from the University of Geneva in Switzerland still faced one great challenge. The drug, based on grape extract, required high concentration doses, which could not be administered through conventional methods.
Resveratrol, a naturally occurring phenol found in grapes and berries, has been extensively tested for anticancer properties but was generally discarded because of disappointing results. Ingestion did not provide enough time for the compound to be properly absorbed. It is usually metabolized and eliminated too quickly, in mere minutes, so they thought of an alternative delivery procedure.
The team designed a more effective system – an intranasal procedure using a spray, that could reach concentrations 22 times higher. In clinical trials involving mice, conducted over a 26-week program, they observed a 45% tumor reduction and also fewer masses overall. The formulation can be applied to humans, though the molecule is quite simple and non-patentable, which means big pharmaceutical companies would most likely ignore it since there are other more profitable avenues to the pursuit.
A number of studies have already revealed that resveratrol can have a chemopreventive effect, though none have managed to surpass this point. It seems that the underlying mechanism revolves around apoptosis, the process of programmed cell death that commonly takes place in all living things.
In the United States, just in 2018, it is estimated that the total number of new cancer cases will be more than 1.7 million. Out of those, approximately 3,000 will be sufferers of mesothelioma. While the percentage is quite low, considering that the five-year survival rate is anywhere from 10 to 15 percent, any improvement or discovery in this area should be considered.
Grapes and berries offer all sorts of health benefits, so it might be a good idea to include them more often in your diet.