For those who like a glass of red wine or two with dinner, it’s easy to look past the sometimes-conflicting reports of the benefits or damage this amount of alcohol consumption can cause. We’d rather have our glass of wine, thank you very much.
A new study shows when it comes to fighting cancer, that glass of red wine could be just what the doctor ordered.
The study focused on resveratrol, a chemical compound found in grapes and red wine. Resveratrol has been shown to possibly have some anticancer properties in past studies, but this study showed that the compound can stop a mutated protein, which is present in half of all breast cancer cases, from aggregating.
Glass of Big House Red anyone?
This study was covered in a paper by principal author Danielly C. Ferraz da Costa and was published in the journal Oncotarget. The study was conducted at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the State University of Rio de Janeiro, both located in Brazil.
Researchers applied a technique called fluorescence spectroscopy to examine, in vitro, the impact of resveratrol on mutant forms of p53. The study also looked at the efficacy of resveratrol on breast cancer cell lines with other p53 mutations and on breast cancer cells with normal p53.
p53 is a protein in the body that has been dubbed the “guardian of the genome” because it has a role in suppressing tumors by killing off cancer cells and preserving healthy cells. These benefits, however, vanish when p53 mutates. Instead of its cancer-fighting abilities, mutated p53 gains harmful impacts. In its mutant form, p53 aggregates into amyloid clumps. In fact, these mutant aggregates are found in more than half of cancer tumors. This aggregation seems to be the problem, more than the mutation.
In the study, the researchers conducted tests in vitro, and they also implanted breast cancer cells into mice and tested the effect of resveratrol on the resulting tumors.
The Brazilian study found that resveratrol, the compound found in red wine, grapes, peanuts, blueberries, and cranberries, inhibited the aggregation of p53 in both human breast cancer cells in vitro and in the rodents’ tumors. The study also found that “resveratrol significantly reduced the proliferative and migratory capabilities of these cells.”
Da Costa writes in the study, “This study provides evidence that resveratrol directly modulates p53 and enhances our understanding of the mechanisms involved in p53 aggregation as a therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment. Our data indicate that resveratrol is a highly promising lead compound targeted against mutant p53 aggregation.”
The study advocates the development of a drug capable of acting directly on the amyloid aggregation of the mutant p53. To aid this development, the researchers are planning to determine which molecules derived from resveratrol are required for designing drugs that can target cancers with p53 mutations.
Bottom line? Have that glass of red wine without any guilt. In fact, maybe you could consider it medicinal!