Cosmopolitan Lifestyle could allay cancer threat

If the cancer-inhibiting properties of red wine don't tempt you, why not try a cosmopolitan, the cranberry-based cocktail made famous by the Sex and the City girls.

Scientists have discovered a new compound in cranberries that works in a completely new way to prevent metastasis, the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.

Catherine Neto from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth discovered the compound, which prevents cancer cells from breaking away from the primary site and spreading to other parts of the body, a process called metastasis. It inhibits the molecular scissors on the cell surface that snip away at the anchors holding cancer cells in place.

The cranberry compound inhibits the growth of human lung, colon and leukaemia cells in culture, but does not affect healthy cells (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, DOI 10.1002/jsfa.2347).

Navindra Seeram, UCLA Centre for Human Nutrition, says that the effect of this compound is new finding, and that the newly identified compound could form the basis of a new cancer drug. Related compounds in red wine are more active in alcohol, and Seeram thinks the same could be true for this compound.

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