Berries 'boost' cancer treatment.
Byline: DR MIRIAM STOPPARD
When researchers at King's College Hospital and Southampton University combined the American chokeberry (above) with gemcitabine, a chemotherapy drug used for pancreatic cancer, they discovered it increased the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. More cancer cells died, and at a faster rate, than the chemotherapy alone. These results were in line with earlier lab tests that showed the berries' effect on brain cancer cells.
Chokeberries grow in swamps in the eastern US and contain nutrients called polyphenols, which appear to reduce harmful cells without targeting healthy ones. Polyphenols are also found in green tea, soy, grapes, mulberries and peanuts.
"These are very exciting results," said researcher Bashir Lwaleed. "The low doses of the extract greatly boosted the effectiveness of gemcitabine. We also found that lower doses of the conventional drug were needed. This could change the way we deal with hard-to-treat cancers."