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Archive for June, 2012

Recent Study Reports: Grape Seed Extract Kills Cancer Cells

A Recent Study Reports Grape Seed Extract Kills Head and Neck Cancer Cells, Leaving The Healthy Cells Unharmed  

Nearly 12,000 people will die of head and neck cancer in the United States this year and worldwide cases will be over 500,000.

A study published in the medical journal Carcinogenesis shows that in both cell lines and laboratory mouse models, grape seed extract (GSE) kills head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

“It’s a rather dramatic effect,” report a team researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Skaggs School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Essentially, the outcome depends on a healthy cell’s ability to wait out damage.

Cancer cells are fast-growing cells,” they explain. “Not only that, but they are necessarily fast growing. When conditions exist in which they can’t grow, they die.”

Grape Seed extract creates conditions that are unfavorable to growth. Specifically, the report shows that grape seed extract both damages cancer cells’ DNA (via increased reactive oxygen species) and stops the pathways that allow repair.

“Yet we saw absolutely no toxicity to the mice, themselves,” Again, the grape seed extract killed the cancer cells but not the healthy cells.

“I think the whole point is that cancer cells have a lot of defective pathways and they are very vulnerable if you target those pathways. The same is not true of healthy cells,” the researchers clarify.

This research was supported by grants from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and from the National Cancer Institute,

Story Source: University of Colorado Denver (2012, January 27). “Grape seed extract kills head and neck cancer cells, leaves healthy cells unharmed”

Journal Reference: Generation of reactive oxygen species by grape seed extract causes irreparable DNA damage leading to G2/M arrest and apoptosis selectively in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells. Carcinogenesis, 2012;


This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Lack Of Sleep Can Lead To Weight Gain


Peripheral-Artery-Disease (Photo credit: Adams999)


A new study identified a new culprit that leads to atherosclerosis, the accumulation of fat and cholesterol that hardens into plaque and narrows arteries. The study was by conducted NYU Langone Medical Center researchers and published online by Nature Immunology in January 2012.

The research explains why cholesterol-laden, coronary artery disease-causing cells (called macrophages)  accumulate in artery plaques.

“We have discovered that macrophages that accumulate in plaques secrete a molecule called netrin-1,” said Kathryn J. Moore, PhD, senior author of the study and associate professor in the Departments of Medicine and Cell Biology at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Our study shows that netrin-1 blocks the normal migration of macrophages out of arteries, causing these immune cells to accumulate and promote the progression of atherosclerosis.”

Artery plaques that are known to have high macrophage cell content, break off and cause vessel blockages, or potentially fatal heart attacks and strokes. Atherosclerosis is fueled by the presence of these cholesterol-laden macrophages in the artery wall. Typically, the boy’s own immune system sends macrophages to clean up cholesterol deposits in arteries;

However, once they fill up with the unhealthy form of cholesterol they get stuck in the arteries, triggering the body’s inflammatory response. The bloated macrophages then become major components of plaque lining artery walls.

Until now, the mechanism by which macrophages become trapped has remained unknown.In this new study, researchers show why macrophages remain in artery plaques leading to atherosclerosis. Netrin-1 promotes atherosclerosis by retaining macrophages in the artery wall. In fact, netrin-1 signals macrophages to stop migrating and as a result these cells accumulate within the plaque.

In addition, study experiments show, genetically deleting netrin-1 can minimize atherosclerosis, reduce the level of macrophages in plaque and promote the migration of macrophages from plaques.

In the study, the research scientists used a florescent tracking technique to label and monitor the movement of macrophage cells in and out of plaques. This experiment showed how macrophages were immobilized and retained in plaque by netrin-1 expression and also demonstrated macrophage emigration from plaque after the deletion of netrin-1.

“Our study identifies netrin-1 as a novel target for future therapeutic intervention for the treatment of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease,” said Janine M. van Gils, PhD, the lead author of the study and a post-doctoral researcher in the Marc and Ruti Bell Vascular Biology and Disease Program, Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, Dept. of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.

“This discovery provides new clues to help reduce the amount of plaque in arteries and the threat of atherosclerosis, a major cause of mortality in Western countries. The development of a new strategy to diminish macrophage accumulation in plaque offers great promise to reducing the occurrence of fatal cardiac events.”

Story Source: NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine.

Journal Reference: The neuroimmune guidance cue netrin-1 promotes atherosclerosis by inhibiting the emigration of macrophages from plaques. Nature Immunology, 2012;

NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine (2012, January 9).


This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Are Diet Sodas and Diet Sft Drinks Bad For Your Health?

A box of Diet Rite.

A box of Diet Rite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


A new study reports a potential link between daily consumption of diet soft drinks and an increased risk of vascular events.

Individuals who drink diet sodas and diet soft drinks on a daily basis may be at increased risk of suffering vascular events such as stroke, heart attack, and vascular death. This is according to a new study from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and at Columbia University Medical Center.

They found that regular soft drink consumption and a more moderate intake of diet soft drinks do not appear to be linked to a higher risk of vascular events. The research appears online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine published by Springer.

Although artificially sweetened soft drinks are advertised as healthier alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages, due to their lack of calories, the long-term health consequences of drinking diet soft drinks remain unclear.

The researchers examined the relationship between both diet and regular soft drink consumption and risk of stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and vascular death.

Data were analyzed from 2,564 participants in the NIH-funded Northern Manhattan Study, which was designed to determine stroke incidence, risk factors and prognosis in a multi-ethnic urban population. The researchers looked at how often individuals drank soft drinks (Both diet and regular) and the number of vascular events that occurred over a ten-year period.

They found that those who drank diet soft drinks daily were 43 percent more likely to have suffered a vascular event than those who drank none, after taking into account pre-existing vascular conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and high blood pressure. Light diet soft drink users, (those who drank between one per month and six per week, and those who chose regular soft drinks were not more likely to suffer vascular events.

The researchers concluded: “Our results suggest a potential association between daily diet soft drink consumption and vascular outcomes. However, the mechanisms by which soft drinks may affect vascular events are unclear. There is a need for further research before any conclusions can be drawn regarding the potential health consequences of diet soft drink consumption.”

Story Source: Springer Science+Business Media,

Journal Reference: Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2012;

Springer Science+Business Media (2012, January). “Are diet soft drinks bad for you?”

This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

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