Terra Sigillata

The real news in this story is how the lead researcher responsibly tempers the interpretation of his 15 October report in Clinical Cancer Research.

From United Press International:

Grape seeds may help attack colon tumors

DENVER, Oct. 18 (UPI) — Chemicals found in grape seeds have been found to inhibit growth of colorectal tumors in both cell cultures and in mice, say Colorado researchers.

“With these results, we are not suggesting that people run out and buy and use grape seed extract. That could be dangerous since so little is known about doses and side effects,” said Rajesh Agarwal of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.

“The value of this preclinical study is that it shows grape seed extract can attack cancer, and how it works, but much more investigation will be needed before these chemicals can be tested as a human cancer treatment and preventive.”

The study, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, documented a 44-percent reduction of advanced colorectal tumors in the animals and also revealed, for the first time, the molecular mechanism by which grape seed extract works to inhibit cancer growth.

The authors found that it increases availability of a critical protein, Cip1/p21, in tumors that effectively freezes the cell cycle and often pushes a cancer cell to self destruct. [APB: Bold emphasis mine]

As of this morning, the paper is not online at CCR to review the details but two things are certain:

1. The researcher’s comment reflects that the doses given to animals have absolutely no bearing on what might possibly be effective in humans.

2. This fact will not stop marketers of grape seed extract products from overinterpreting this report for their financial gain, perfectly legal under the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, but reprehensible nonetheless.

Note added in proof: The American Association for Cancer Research, publisher of Clinical Cancer Research, has posted a complete press release on this paper here.

Hat tip: The Cheerful Oncologist

Comments

  1. #1 Joe
    October 19, 2006

    Of course animal models don’t translate to humans. But, how about noting that a 44% reduction in a rare disease is extremely difficult to document. It is most likely statistical noise.

    The DSHEA is an abomination.

  2. #2 sweetpea
    October 19, 2006

    Erliechda, my favorite mouse doctor, has hammered this into his dear sweatpea’s head
    “The researcher’s comment reflects that the doses given to animals have absolutely no bearing on what might possibly be effective in humans.”

  3. #3 Simon Dumville
    November 30, 2006

    Great article, but i am a strong believe that all diseases are a combination of factors, and everybody has a different psyhiology and makeup, with each persons immune system and fitness being a major factor. Grapes may help with reduction but only with a balanced diet and fitness programme.

    I have bookmarked this blog for further browsing at a later stage.

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