Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Can Berries Prevent Skin Cancer?

Over 250,000 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. When treated early, squamous cell carcinoma — which is mainly caused by sun exposure — may need minor surgery and has a good prognosis. But, if undiagnosed, it can actually lead to disfigurement. Interestingly, though, a recent study from Ohio State’s College of Medicine shows that black raspberry extract might actually slow the growth of this type of cancer.

The study. Researchers believe that squamous cell carcinoma may partly occur because of an inflammatory response, and black raspberries may reduce this response. To explore the role of black raspberries in squamous cell skin cancer, senior author VanBuskirk and her team exposed mice to UVB rays (which cause sunburn) three times a week for 25 weeks. Next, the mice received an application of either KY jelly containing a freeze-dried, ground-up compound of black raspberry extract or a gel without the berry powder. A third group served as a control.

Results: Mice treated with the extract actually showed a 50 percent decrease in their tumors. And these same mice, when compared with the control group, had smaller tumors. Inflammation was also reduced. These beneficial results might stem from anthacyanins — which provide black raspberries with their dark color.

Future of this research. Scientists hope that eventually, after further studies can help to strengthen this correlation, they may be able to utilize these berries to help sun-damaged skin.

No comments: