A study published in Nutrition and Cancer shows that the most active component of grape seed extract—B2G2—may induce the cell death known as apoptosis in prostate cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
"We've shown similar anti-cancer activity in the past with grape seed extract (GSE), but now we know B2G2 is its most biologically active ingredient which can be synthesized in quantities that will allow us to study the detailed death mechanism in cancer cells," said Alpna Tyagi, University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The researchers have spent more than a decade demonstrating the anti-cancer activity of GSE in controlled, laboratory conditions. Previous studies have shown the GSE effectiveness against cancer cells and have also shown its mechanism of action. But it wasn't known, until recently, which constituent of GSE created this effect. The group recently pinpointed B2G2 as the most active compound, but it's expensive and it takes a long time to isolate B2G2 from grape seed extract. So instead of purifying B2G2 from GSE, the group decided to synthesize it in the lab. They were able to synthesize gram-quantity of B2G2 reasonably quickly and inexpensively.
In the study's second half, the researchers show anti-cancer activity of synthesized B2G2 similar in mechanism and degree to overall GSE effectiveness.
"Our goal all along has been a clinical trial of the biologically active compounds from GSE against human cancer. But it's difficult to earn FDA approval for a trial in which we don't know the mechanisms and possible effects of all active components. Therefore, isolating and synthesizing B2G2 is an important step because now we have the ability to conduct more experiments with the pure compound. Ongoing work in the lab further increases our understanding of B2G2's mechanism of action that will help for the preclinical and clinical studies in the future," said Tyagi.