Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bilberry Extract – Can It Help Prevent Certain Cancers?

04.10.2007
A Leicester cancer research project, which receives funding from Hope Against Cancer (formerly The Hope Foundation,) is investigating whether an extract from bilberries can prevent or delay the onset of certain cancers.

Professor Andy Gescher, of the University of Leicester, is leading an investigation to carry out clinical trials with the commercially produced substance Mirtoselect (extracted from bilberries), with the cooperation of patients about to undergo surgery for colorectal and liver cancer.

Among his research team are two Allison Wilson Fellows whose work is funded by Hope Against Cancer, Ms Sarah Thomasset and Mr Giuseppe Garcea.

The research project, which takes place in the University of Leicester’s Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine and at the Leicester General Hospital, has already established that in a laboratory model Mirtoselect decreases the development of colorectal cancer.

Now, working with Mr Dave Berry, Hepatobiliary surgeon at the General Hospital, they are looking to see how much of the bilberry extract actually gets into human tissue and whether there are changes in the tissue that may have been caused by the substance.

If so, then that indicates that taking the extract over a long period may be beneficial. If not, then the researchers have to decide whether it is feasible to increase the dose and whether it is right to go forward to a major clinical trial.

By comparing results with their laboratory model, the research team will have an indication as to how effective the bilberry extract is likely to be in preventing cancer. This will help them to design a protocol for a future clinical trial that will test whether it really does interfere with the onset of colorectal or liver cancer.

Ms Thomasset explained: "Modern medicine is increasingly trying to find ways to prevent diseases from developing. You can see this in the Public Health Warnings on tobacco products. Our research project is looking at substances which can be taken as tablets and which may slow down the development of a cancer, or even prevent it from occurring in the first place.

"In the future, these agents could be used as drugs to stop cancers from developing in apparently healthy people, or they could be used to prevent it recurring in patients who have had successful treatment of cancer. The ideal type of drug to use for this would be one with very few, or no, side effects, which could be taken daily for many years with no problems."

The Mirtoselect project is the latest in a long line of research carried out by Professor Gescher and Professor Will Steward, working with surgical colleagues at the Leicester General Hospital.

Professor Gescher commented: "We are interested in agents, many of them derived from diet, which may prevent cancer or delay its onset. For quite a number of years we have been working on curcumin, the yellow constituent of curry.

"Our current research, funded by Hope Against Cancer, involves berries, coloured blue or red, which contain chemicals called anthocyanins. These have long been suspected to have a beneficial effect in this sense.

"We take an individual chemical out of its context and investigate it. Instead of asking people to eat a punnet of bilberries, we ask them to take Mirtoselect, which contains anthocyanins. We also study whether anthocyanins are more efficacious when they are part of a dietary mixture. There is some evidence to say that this may be the case."

Developing a new drug, even one derived solely from fruit or some other food substance, is time-consuming, and Ms Thomasset is still recruiting colorectal and liver cancer patients to help with the study.

In the meantime, one of her principal tasks is to take body fluids such as urine and plasma from participating patients and check how much of the bilberry extract is present.

"This is an extremely expensive process, and it is this that the Hope funding pays for," explained Professor Gescher. "All the reagents Sarah needs, she can buy without using up our internal budget. It is fantastic for us. When we need to buy reagents for the analysis or antibodies there’s no problem. Unlike many of our colleagues, we don’t have to scratch our heads and take up time wondering where to get the money from. We are very fortunate."

Since its beginnings in 2002 the Leicestershire and Rutland charity, Hope Against Cancer, has grown in strength and now funds eleven cancer researchers in our local hospitals and universities.

Founded by the late Allison Wilson CBE, following the discovery that she had cancer, The Hope Foundation was set up to promote clinical trials, with all the benefits these bring to cancer care in the region.

Much of the research supported by Hope Against Cancer is based at the University of Leicester, where the charity funds PhD research posts, clinical fellowships, Allison Wilson Fellowships and this year, for the first time, a nursing fellowship.

Ather Mirza | alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>