Study Evaluates Impact of Black Raspberries on Oral Cancer Prevention in Smokers

The Ohio state University| Tue May 16 06:11:08 EDT 2017
Study Evaluates Impact of Black Raspberries on Oral Cancer Prevention in Smokers

 Cigarette smokers are needed for a new study to test whether phytochemicals in black raspberries can protect smokers from oral disease and lower their risk of developing oral cancer.

Smoking is the principle risk factor for oral cancer.  Previously reported laboratory research at OSU shows that black raspberries contain phytochemicals potentially beneficial for inhibiting the early stages of oral cancer development.  For this new study researchers will evaluate the impact of black raspberry compounds on the bacteria in the mouths of current smokers, which may also contribute to oral cancer development.

“We know that the normal oral bacteria community plays a critical role in health and that both smoking and foods may impact the oral bacteria and impact the risk of developing diseases of the oral cavity such as periodontal diseases.  We are now investigating how specific foods impact the oral bacterial community and cancer risk.   It is clear that people who smoke have a much higher risk for oral diseases – including oral cancer - and that the bacterial environment participates in this process,” says Purnima Kumar, PhD, DDS, Associate Professor in the College of Dentistry and scientist with the OSUCCC – James Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Research Program. “This study will help us understand whether one very specific dietary intervention could reduce oral cancer risk in a high risk (smoking) population.”

Study Design and Methods After a dental cleaning, researchers will collect bacteria from participants’ gums, cheeks and tongue.  Participants will then be randomized to receive either a control beverage (containing berry flavor) or the test beverage containing black raspberry components. Participants will be required to drink a certain amount of the beverage every day and follow a diet that limits other types of berries and berry products.

Researchers will use this information to analyze how and if the bacterial environment in the mouth changes after berry treatment in smokers compared with non-smokers. 

“These phytochemicals are effective for reducing chronic inflammation and tumor progression and we’ve shown they are safe to test for cancer prevention purposes in humans,” adds Elizabeth Grainger, PhD, RD a clinical research nutritionist and with the OSUCCC – James and scientist with the College of Medicine. “Our goal in this study is to gain insight on how this novel black raspberry beverage may impact oral health and, ultimately, oral cancer risk.”

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