Black Raspberry as a freeze dried extract potentially fights cancer

September 02, 2008

     Concentrated freeze-dried Black Raspberry extract may help prevent certain cancers by acting on a combination of genes. In animals exposed to a toxic-cancer causing chemical (the compound was N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine or NMBA for short) over 2,200 genes in the esophagus were affected, “These changes in gene expression correlated with changes in the tissue that included greater cell proliferation (out of control multiplication), marked inflammation, and increased apoptosis (cell death),” explained researcher Dr Gary Stoner. But normal function was restored in 462 genes; a group of them being very important in the cancer fighting business (some of them need to be turned on and some turned off) after supplementation with freeze-dried Black Raspberry Extract, researchers from Ohio State University report. The 462 restored genes showed near-normal levels of activity, compared with controls. The tissue also appeared more normal and healthy, said the researchers.
     The researchers state that 53 of these genes may be especially important in the development of cancer. “We have clearly shown that berries, which contain a variety of anticancer compounds, have a genome-wide effect on the expression of genes involved in cancer development,” said lead researcher Gary Stoner. “This suggests to us that a mixture of preventative agents, which berries provide, may more effectively prevent cancer than a single agent that targets only one or a few genes.”
     The researcher added that the fruit contain many different types of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phenols and phytosterols, many of which individually have been reported to prevent cancer in animals. “Freeze drying the berries concentrates these elements about ten times, giving us a power pack of chemoprevention agents that can influence the different signalling pathways that are deregulated in cancer,” added Stoner. The study was funding by the National Cancer Institute.

     The study taps into the growing field of nutrigenomics, seen by many as the future of nutrition. Nutrigenomics is defined as how food and ingested nutrients influence the genome (personalised nutrition). Nutrigenetics is defined as how a person's genetic make-up affects a response to diet (individual nutrition). The difference between the two is important. The study is published in the journal Cancer Research, Volume 68, Pages 6460-6467.