A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published online ahead of print in the journal Nutrition and Cancer describes the laboratory synthesis of the most active component of grape seed extract, B2G2, and shows this synthesized compound induces the cell death known as apoptosis in prostate cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
"We've shown similar anti-cancer activity in the past with grape seed extract (GSE), but now we know B2G2 is its most biologically active ingredient which can be synthesized in quantities that will allow us to study the detailed death mechanism in cancer cells," says Alpna Tyagi, PhD, of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Tyagi works in the lab of CU Cancer Center investigator and Skaggs School of Pharmacy faculty member, Chapla Agarwal, PhD.
The group has spent more than a decade demonstrating the anti-cancer activity of GSE in controlled, laboratory conditions. For example, previous studies have shown the GSE effectiveness against cancer cells and have also shown its mechanism of action. "But until recently, we didn't know which constituent of GSE created this effect. This naturally occurring compound, GSE, is a complex mixture of polyphenols and also so far it has been unclear about the biologically active constituents of GSE against cancer cells," Tyagi says.
Eventually the group pinpointed B2G2 as the most active compound, but, "it's expensive and it takes a long time to isolate B2G2 from grape seed extract," Tyagi says.