A toast to long life seems appropriate in light of what researchers from the University of Rome, Italy, think they have learned about mesothelioma and wine.
Writing in the journal Nutrients, the scientists asserted that polyphenols appear to beneficially alter the immune system and thereby curb production of inflammation mediators.
This alteration seems to set up a biological environment capable of slowing mesothelioma growth. It may also even prevent mesothelioma, the researchers speculate.
Polyphenols are found in wine. According to the researchers, dietary polyphenols can “inhibit cancer cell growth by targeting multiple signaling pathways, reducing inflammation, and modulating immune response.”
Dietary polyphenols means polyphenols you consume for nutrition. Or, expressed another way, polyphenols you ingest through your mouth and send down to your stomach.
This isn’t to suggest that you should race to your nearest corner market or liquor store and purchase a case of zinfandel. The findings of the University of Rome research team need to be substantiated by further testing.
Mesothelioma Treatment with Wine Polyphenols
However, their insights do raise some interesting possibilities for the treatment of mesothelioma.
The researchers’ thirst to learn about wine polyphenols and their potential usefulness against mesothelioma began when they uncorked evidence from other investigators showing three things about the cancer.
Insight number one: Mesothelioma cells feature multiple signaling pathways that have been aberrantly activated.
Insight number two: Chronic inflammation of mesothelial cells helps launch mesothelioma and this inflammation’s source is asbestos fibers.
Insight number three: Mesothelioma receives a boost when the immune system becomes deregulated.
In the course of their own investigation, the University of Rome researchers took note of the fact that polyphenols can modulate production of “pro-inflammatory molecules by targeting signaling pathways.”
This, they indicated, “might represent a key mechanism” for slowing, stopping or preventing mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Mucous Membranes Vulnerable
Polyphenols are chemicals — usually organic — formed when two or more types of phenol combine (which is why they’re called polyphenols). Phenol is similar to alcohol, only more acidic.
The acidity of phenol is strong enough to do damage to skin, eyes and lungs. At the cellular level, phenol can eat away at and destroy mucous membranes. Mesothelioma cells have mucous membranes.
Foods that contain polyphenols include chocolate, coffee, tea (green and black), herbs, nuts, vegetables and fruits. Since grapes are polyphenol-containing fruit and grapes are the key ingredient in wine, polyphenol is present in wine.
However, polyphenol is not as big a part of wine as alcohol. Alcohol counts for more because alcohol is the main product of fermentation. Fermentation is the process by which grapes become wine.
Earlier research conducted by other investigators around the world has demonstrated that the consumption of wine has some beneficial health effects.
For example, some studies have shown that drinking a glass of wine daily may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
However, other studies have shown that drinking more than that amount can increase the risk due to the effects of too much alcohol in the body.
The title of the researchers’ study is “The Potential Protective Effects of Polyphenols in Asbestos-Mediated Inflammation and Carcinogenesis of Mesothelium.”