American Chemical Society showcases cancer-fighting foods

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Grape seed, Cancer

The American Chemical Society (ACS) brought the cancer-fighting
potential of food to the forefront Sunday as part of its national
meeting.

Researchers presented their studies and papers at a symposium entitled "Natural products, diets and cancer prevention"​. This is the first year the ACS has held such a symposium. The idea behind the event was to draw attention to the potential of nutraceutical compounds in preventing cancer, and as such present a balance to mainstream therapeutic and medical approaches. "Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States,"​ ACS chair for agricultural food chemistry division, Dr. Agnes Rimando, told NutraIngredients-USA. "Animal studies have shown that it is possible to prevent the growth of cancer cells." ​ The event brought together antioxidant research surrounding, among other foods, black raspberries, blueberries, grape seed and high fiber foods. Black raspberries were highlighted for showing promise in preventing cancer of the esophagus and colon. Researchers at Ohio State University showed that animals whose diets were supplemented with black raspberries had a 60 percent reduction in tumors of the esophagus and up to an 80 percent reduction in colon tumors. Clinical trials are underway to determine whether the berries will prevent the development of esophageal and colon cancer in humans, according to study leader and researcher and professor of internal medicine at the Ohio State, Gary Stoner. Another berry, the blueberry, was showcased for the compound pterostilbene. According to a joint study between Rutgers University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the compound is a potent antioxidant that could be developed into a pill form with potentially fewer side effects than some commercial therapies. Grape seed was presented for its potential in preventing skin cancer by boosting the immune system. Researchers at the University of Alabama Birmingham linked grape seed extract to the prevention of sunlight-induced skin cancer when used as a dietary supplement. Using mouse models of non-melanoma skin cancer, mice were fed diets supplemented with the grape seed compounds, proanthocyanidins, and showed a reduction in tumors. There were up to 65 percent fewer tumors and they were up to 78 percent smaller in comparison to control animals. High-fiber foods show particular promise against prostate cancer, according to presenters. At the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, the active compound, inositol hexaphosphate, was fed to animal models of prostate cancer. The result was up to a 66 percent reduction in tumor size in comparison to control animals given water instead.

Related topics: Antioxidants/carotenoids

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