Washington: In a new study, scientists have explained how the resveratrol found in red wine helps in preventing head and neck cancer.
Though alcohol is considered a major risk factor for head and neck cancer, Dr. Robert Sclafani, at the University of Colorado Cancer Center said that excessive alcohol damages cells but resveratrol kills damaged cells, so they can't go on to cause cancer.
Sclafani described the effects of resveratrol in terms of probability saying that the more a person drank, the more they would accumulate DNA damage, and the more chance that one or more cells would accumulate the specific type of DNA damage that could cause cancer. Now, resveratrol takes out the cells with the most damage - the cells that have the highest probability of being able to cause cancer.
According to Sclafani, the resveratrol in red wine (and other chemopreventive chemicals found in grape seed extract) wasn't a magic bullet that could completely undo the cancer-causing effects of alcohol, but by killing the most dangerous cells it might decrease the probability that alcohol use would cause cancer.
Ongoing clinical trials are testing the ability of resveratrol to prevent colon and liver cancer. Dr. Sclafani and his colleague Dr. Rajesh Agarwal plan to test resveratrol in the prevention and possibly treatment of head and neck and other cancer types.
The study is published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology.