NEW DELHI: “For some cancers, such as late-stage cervical cancer, radiation is a good treatment option. However, collateral damage to healthy cells always occurs,” said Yujiang Fang, from the University of Missouri in the US.
“Based on previous research, we studied blueberry extract to verify it could be used as a radiosensitisers,” said Fang.
Radiosensitisers are non-toxic chemicals that make cancer cells more responsive to radiation therapy, according to the study published in the journal Pathology and Oncology Magazine.
In a previous study, Fang and his research team showed that resveratrol, a compound in red grapes, could be used as a radiosensitiser for treating prostate cancer. Blueberries also contain resveratrol.
“In addition to resveratrol, blueberries also contain flavonoids. Flavonoids are chemicals that may have anti- oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties,” Fang said.
The researchers used human cervical cancer cell lines to mimic clinical treatment.
The cell lines were divided into four groups that included a control group, a group that received only radiation, a group that received only blueberry extract, and a group that received both radiation and the extract.
“Radiation decreased cancer cells by approximately 20%. Interestingly, the cell group that received only blueberry extract had a 25% decrease in cancer. However, the biggest decline in cancer cells occurred in the radiation and extract group, with a decrease of about 70%,” he said.
“Blueberries are very common and found all over the world,” Fang said.
“They are readily accessible and inexpensive. As a natural treatment option for boosting the effectiveness of existing therapies, I feel they would be enthusiastically accepted,” he added.