Journal of Undergraduate Research


chemotherapeutic potential, resveratrol-base treatments, cancer


Life Sciences


Microbiology and Molecular Biology


Cancer is one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases in the world. In 2012 alone, there were approximately 14 million new cases of cancer and over 8 million cancer-related deaths worldwide. Despite extensive research in past decades, the burden of cancer continues to increase.

One of the most common treatments for cancer is chemotherapy, the use of various chemical substances that exhibit anti-cancer activity. Unfortunately, chemotherapy can be quite toxic and often produces inadequate results. There remains a great need for improved chemotherapeutic treatment strategies in order to improve outcomes for cancer patients.

The purpose of my project was to investigate the chemotherapeutic potential of an anti-oxidant known as resveratrol. Resveratrol is a compound naturally found in many fruits such as grapes and blueberries. Resveratrol is safe for normal cells in our bodies, but has actually been shown to be toxic to cancer cells. Nonetheless, its potential for therapeutic use continues to be highly debated. In our study, we wanted to see if the effects of chemotherapy on cancer cells could be enhanced by co-treatment with low levels of resveratrol.

We also wanted to test the chemotherapeutic potential of an analog of resveratrol called pterostilbene. Previous results in our lab show that pterostilbene might also possess anti-cancer activity, but relatively little research has been done on the compound up to this point.

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