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Can Grapeseed Extract Combat Chemo Side Effects?

A clinical trial still in the beginning stages is investigating grapeseed extract's antioxidant properties on the side effects of high-dose radiotherapy given to breast cancer patients. Funded by Cancer Research UK and conducted by The Royal Marsden Hospital and The Institute of Cancer Research, the trial is being conducted to see if the extract's flavonoids will reduce radiation fibrosis, a side effect that causes tissue to become hard and stiff from radiotherapy.

John Yarnold is the principal investigator for the trial. We aim to test if grapeseed extract reverses these changes and improves patients' quality of life he said in a press release.

The scarring may be the result of a build-up in free radicals caused by this particular cancer therapy. Flavonoids have antioxidant properties that may be superior to known antioxidants like vitamins E or C Yarnold added. There have already been promising small scale trials with antioxidants [conducted on radiotherapy's side effects], but I believe grapeseed extract has interesting potential.

The trial will involve 72 patients who will be asked to undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and give blood, urine and breast tissue samples. The six-month treatment will be randomized and placebo-controlled. If the trial proves successful, Yarnold hopes to conduct further clinical trials in which fibrosis may cause serious medical problems.

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