Suck It, Death

SciShort_7_23_15Perhaps you’ve seen resveratrol advertised as a miracle compound in the quack science aisle of Rite Aid. It usually sits in the aisle with the pills that advertise weight loss (with no lifestyle change required!) or height gain, or something preposterous like that. It turns out this particular miracle worker really does work miracles, and now OSU researchers in the College of Pharmacy are finding new ways to maximize its potential and effectiveness.

Resveratrol has long been suspected as the reason for the so-called “French paradox”—no, not that their food smells so good but their streets don’t. The paradox refers to the French high-fat diet of cheese and how much it surprisingly doesn’t cause cardiovascular disease. It has been thought that the presence of resveratrol in red wine (which you may have heard they drink a lot of) is at the heart of this beneficial paradox.

The new OSU research makes use of “copolymers” to make resveratrol water soluble and thus injectable into the bloodstream. This means we no longer have to rely on getting it in our food and can just dose up, which could have huge effects on the fight against cancer and several other threats to our lives.

This has great potential to improve chemotherapeutic cancer treatment,” said Adam Alani in a press release. Alani is an assistant professor in the Oregon State University/Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy, and is the lead author of the study. “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,” Alani elaborated, “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.”

Quercetin is another polyphenol, like resveratrol, thought to have a lot of the same beneficial tendencies. Adriamycin is a commonly used cancer drug that has toxic effects on the heart. The study showed that not only did the two polyphenols reduce the danger of the drug, but they also make the drug more effective.

This new research threatens to make both cancer and the quack science aisle things of the past, though the wine section should still thrive.

By Sidney Reilly