Blueberries do not cure cancer

Randomly, the media spotlight has focused on several fruit this week:

Monday: ‘Dark’ fruits
A presentation at the annual American Chemical Society conference in the States: Scientists played about with the chemical structure of certain fruit pigments, and found that they could be made to kill bowel cancer cells in a Petri dish even better than the unmodified chemicals. This got widespread media coverage (‘darker fruit could fight cancer’).

JamTuesday: Jam
The main component of jam – pectin – is found to kill prostate cancer cells, but not normal cells, in the lab. This is quite an interesting result, as the difference between the two cell types was quite stark. One can only speculate about how this research came about – maybe the researchers had an accident with their breakfast in the tissue culture lab.

cranberries_small.jpgWednesday: Cranberries
A compound purified from cranberries is found to re-sensitise ovarian cancer cells to platinum drugs in the laboratory. As drug resistance is quite a problem in ovarian cancer treatment, the pursuit of anything that could help overcome this is welcome. However, as with all these stories… it’s early days.

So, in summary – there’s nothing here to suggest any deviation from the tried and trusted ‘five-a-day’ message that the vast amount of large, population-based studies like EPIC supports. There’s certainly not a shred of evidence that anyone should start eating above-average quantities of these fruit. You could just say it was a case of the media going temporarily bananas…