Leicester wins US funding for trials on red wine cancer drug

November 8, 2002

A new cancer-prevention drug based on a natural compound found in red wine is to be tested in trials at the University of Leicester, writes Tony Tysome.

Researchers at the university's department of oncology and their counterparts at the University of Michigan have been awarded more than £1 million by the US National Cancer Institute to investigate the the drug.

It is the first time that a group outside the US has been given money by the NCI, the US government body that funds and coordinates cancer research, to develop a cancer-preventing drug.

The money will be used by Leicester's cancer biomarker and prevention group for pre-clinical and clinical evaluation of resveratrol, a natural compound found in red wine.

Initial trials will begin in Spring next year, with healthy volunteers recruited through flyers to be distributed at the university and Leicester Royal Infirmary.

William Steward, one of the researchers, explained: "Consumption of resveratrol has been proposed as one possible explanation for the low incidence of cardiovascular disease in southern European countries with high red wine consumption, and it has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity in experimental models.

The group that will be testing resveratrol has attracted interest through its work investigating the cancer-fighting properties of curcumin, an ingredient in curries. It is involved in the clinical development of other dietary ingredients that may help fight cancer.

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