The UMass Dartmouth Cranberry Health Research Center received $250,000 to advance research into the cancer-fighting compounds of cranberries.
The funds, a $150,000 gift from the Leo and Anne Albert Charitable Trust and $100,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, came at a critical time in the center’s research, according to Catherine Neto, director of the Cranberry Health Research Center. "Our early-stage work has shown the promise of cranberries to fight disease. Now we are able to take that research to the next level," she said.
Multiple compounds in cranberries have been reported to reduce tumor cell growth and proliferation, and this initiative brings together researchers with multidisciplinary expertise to study how cranberries can reduce inflammatory diseases and cancers, with a focus on colon health.
Neto is joined in the center by UMassD bioengineering professors Milana Vasudev, Tracie Ferreira, and Vanni Bucci, and Hang Xiao, associate professor in UMass Amherst’s Department of Food Science.
Preliminary studies by Neto and Xiao, demonstrated that in a mouse model of inflammatory colon cancer/colitis, feeding cranberry powder to mice reduced tumor number and size, as well as tissue inflammation.