Grape extract could 'slow bowel cancer growth'

In collaboration with the Press Association

Preliminary US research has suggested that a natural extract of grape seeds can slow the growth of bowel cancer cells.

Previous work has suggested that the grape seed extract, known as proanthocyanidins, could block the growth of skin and prostate cancer cells under laboratory conditions.

When administered to mice, a single, large dose of grape seed extract reduced bowel tumour growth by 44 per cent over an eight week period, said the study.

Looking at the effect of proanthocyanidins, the researchers found that under laboratory conditions it was able to arrest the rapid proliferation of cells that is a hallmark of cancer.

"This is an interesting piece of research that increases our knowledge about the potential anti-cancer properties of grape seed extract," said Dr Kat Arney of Cancer Research UK.

"But there is still a lot of work to be done before we really understand how this cocktail of chemicals works and if it could ever be used to prevent bowel cancer.

The research was carried out at the University of Colorado and is published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.