(RxWiki News) Head and neck cancers are one of the forms of the disease that are increasing. Recent studies have shown that nature may have an excellent treatment for these cancers.
"If you have a mouth sore that isn't healing, see your doctor."
Rajesh Agarwal, Ph.D, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, led the study that appeared in the January 23, 2012 issue of Carcinogenesis.
The study found that the grape seed extract (GRE) kills head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells in both cell lines and in mouse models.
The extract pinpoints the cancer cells and leaves healthy cells healthy.
"It's a rather dramatic effect," says Agarwal.
How this works is that grape seed extract make create an environment in which normally fast growing cancer cells don't grow. And when that happens, they die.
The extract does a number of the cancer cells DNA, and this damage keeps them from repairing themselves. The cells can't survive this assault, give up the ghost and die.
"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," Agarwal says.
The next step will be testing GRE in clinical trials. Agarwal sees it as a potential second-line therapy for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma that has not responded to first-line treatments.
Oral cancers often grow unnoticed, which makes them so dangerous. Signs and symptoms you don't want to ignore include - sores in the mouth that don't heal within 14 days, a lump or mass in the neck or throat, pain or trouble swallowing, speaking or chewing, wart-like masses, hoarseness that lasts a long time and any numbness in the mouth or face.