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Blackberry extract blocks spread of cancer cells
September 21 2006

(NewsTarget) An extract derived from fresh blackberries may reduce the size and spread of cancerous tumors, according to new research published in the June issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Cell biologist Min Ding and plant physiologist Shiow Wang -- both researchers at the U.S. Agricultural Research Service -- found that the active compound in blackberries is a water-soluble flavonoid called CG3, which is responsible for the fruit's antioxidant power. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have long been associated with lower incidence of cancer because of the plants' high antioxidant activity, which fights off cancer-promoting free radicals.

To test the antioxidant powers of CG3, Ding and Wang administered the compound to a group of mice with skin tumors, and compared those mice to a group that received no CG3. The researchers observed that the mice treated with CG3 experienced a significant reduction in the growth and spread of tumors.

The researchers also tested the compound on lung cancer tumors -- which are more likely than other forms of cancer to spread to other organs -- in immune-suppressed mice, and found that CG3 again reduced the growth of the tumors and inhibited their spread.

"These findings demonstrate for the first time that a purified compound from blackberry fruit could inhibit tumor promoter-induced cancer growth in mice and pave the way for additional investigations on the mechanisms of how fruits and vegetables promote health benefits in humans," Ding and Wang wrote.

Natural health advocate Mike Adams, author of "Grocery Warning," says cancer patients should simply eat whole, fresh blackberries to receive the anti-cancer benefits of the berries, rather than waiting for researchers to turn isolated berry components into expensive pharmaceuticals.