Chemicals found in some beloved foods and beverages may help the body to utilize chemotherapy drugs. Valuable in a nutritional sense when consumed, directs injections of these polyphenols have cancer-fighting properties and abilities to help the body absorb powerful chemicals, according to scientists from the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University and the School of Pharmacy at Pacific University. The research was published in the Journal of Controlled Release and reported in Science Daily (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150716160607.htm).
According to the US National Library of Medicine, polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits, vegetables, cereals and beverages. Grapes, apples, pears, cherries and berries contain as much as 300 mg polyphenols per 100 grams fresh weight. Other foods and beverages that contribute to the polyphenic intake are cereals, dry legumes, chocolate, red wine, tea and coffee. Polyphenols, secondary metabolites of plants, are generally involved in defense against ultraviolet radiation or aggression by pathogens. Epidemiological studies suggest that long term consumption of diets rich in plant polyphenols can offer some protection against development of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases
Two polyphenols, resveratrol and quercetin, could become the basis of a new advance in cancer treatment that improves the efficacy and potential use of an existing chemotherapeutic cancer drug. The Oregon State University researchers have experimented with a system that increases the bioavailability of these compounds in the body "by using copolymers that make them water soluble and allow their injection into the blood stream, creating levels that are far higher than could ever be obtained by diet or oral intake," the Science Daily article explains.
The scientists claim that the resveratrol and quercetin seem to lower the cardiac toxicity of a widely used cancer drug, Adriamycin. The drug, which is very effective in treating lymphomas, breast, ovarian and other cancers, has to be used for a limited time in humans because of its cardiotoxicity. The scientists believe that using the polyphenols along with Adriamycin could enable more extensive use of the drug, while also improving its efficacy and demonstrating the anti-cancer properties of the polyphenols.
When eaten as foods or taken as supplements, polyphenol compounds reach only a tiny fraction of the potency possible with direct injection. OSU and Pacific University researchers have adapted the use of "polymeric micelles" to help make the polyphenols water soluble to introduce them directly into the body. While these systems have been used with other compounds, this is a new procedure with polyphenols.
As Adam Alani, an assistant professor in the Oregon State University/Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy and lead author on the research, explains, "This has great potential to improve chemotherapeutic cancer treatment. The co-administration of high levels of resveratrol and quercetin, in both in vitro and in vivo studies, shows that it significantly reduces the cardiac toxicity of Adriamycin, And these compounds have a synergistic effect that enhances the efficacy of the cancer drug, by sensitizing the cancer cells to the effects of the drug."