A wild berry native to North America may strengthen the effectiveness of a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat pancreatic cancer, reveals experimental research published online in the Journal of Clinical Pathology. The findings prompt the researchers to suggest that adding ‘nutraceuticals’ to chemotherapy cycles may improve the effectiveness of conventional drugs, particularly in hard to treat cancers, such as pancreatic cancer.

They base their findings on the effectiveness of extract of chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) in killing off cancer cells – a process known as apoptosis. Chokeberry is a wild berry that grows on the eastern side of North America in wetlands and swamp areas. The berry is high in vitamins and antioxidants, including various polyphenols – compounds that are believed to mop up the harmful by-products of normal cell activity.

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