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Resveratrol, Red Wine Compound, Could Make Radiation More Effective Against Melanoma

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Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine and red grape skins, could make radiation treatment for cancer more effective, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine found that treating melanoma cells with resveratrol in a lab setting made them more susceptible to radiation.

"We've seen glimmers of possibilities, and it seems that resveratrol could potentially be very important in treating a variety of cancers," study researcher Michael Nicholl, M.D., an assistant professor of surgery at the university, said in a statement. "It comes down to how to administer the resveratrol. If we can develop a successful way to deliver the compound to tumor sites, resveratrol could potentially be used to treat many types of cancers. Melanoma is very tricky due to the nature of how the cancer cells travel throughout the body, but we envision resveratrol could be combined with radiation to treat symptomatic metastatic tumors, which can develop in the brain or bone."

The study, which was published in the Journal of Surgical Research, involved applying resveratrol to melanoma cell lines. When researchers applied resveratrol only to the melanoma cells, 44 percent of them died. And when they applied resveratrol to the cells with radiation, 65 percent died.

Resveratrol has been fingered in other studies for its potential cancer-fighting abilities. A 2011 study in the FASEB journal showed that resveratrol could stop growth of breast cancer cells in a lab setting.

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