The ‘healthy’ ingredient in red wine could help in the fight against breast cancer, after scientists found that it can stop the cancer cells from growing.
New research has found that resveratrol blocks the effects of oestrogen which reduces the specific breast cancer receptors.
While drinking more red wine is unlikely to have a major impact the discovery could have important implications for the treatment of women with breast cancer, whose tumours can develop resistance to hormonal therapy.
During the research by a team of American and Italian scientists breast cancer cells were treated with resveratrol and their growth was compared with cells left untreated.
Scientists found an important reduction in cell growth in cells treated by resveratrol, while no changes were seen in untreated cells.
Additional experiments revealed that this effect was related to a drastic reduction of oestrogen receptor levels caused by resveratrol itself.
Sebastiano Andò, a researcher involved in the work from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Calabria in Italy, said: "Resveratrol is a potential pharmacological tool to be exploited when breast cancer become resistant to the hormonal therapy.”
"These findings are exciting, but in no way does it mean that should people go out and start using red wine or resveratrol supplements as a treatment for breast cancer," added Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of TheFASEB Journal.