Black raspberries have been found to be largely effective in fighting and preventing colorectal tumors by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The study was conducted on in two mouse models affected with the disease. The study was printed in the November issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

According to the National Cancer Institute Colorectal cancer is known to be one of the three common kind of cancer. It is also the second most leading cause of deaths related to cancer in the U.S.

Earlier research has found that the black raspberries contain anti-cancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-neurodegenerative properties. The study primarily focused on the ability of the fruit to fight colon cancer.

"We saw the black raspberry as a natural product, very powerful, and easy to access," said Dr. Wancai Yang, assistant professor of pathology at the UIC College of Medicine and senior author of the study. His primary research focus was on the interactions of nutritional and genetic factors in tumor prevention and the progression of intestinal cancer.

Two specific strains of mice, Apc1638 and Muc2, were utilized in the research. Each of them have a definite gene removed, which caused the mice to grow either colitis as was the case of Muc2 or intestinal tumors (in like the case of Apc1638) or. Colitis is the inflammation found in the large intestine which may add to the expansion of colorectal cancer.

In both mouse strains it was found that the diet supplemented with black raspberry created a range of defensive effects which are visible in the colon, intestine, and rectum which decreased tumor formation.

The study found that the development of tumor was diminished by the consumption of black raspberries as it suppresses a protein, called beta-catenin. The protein binds to the APC gene.

It was found that with the Muc2 mice, the total number of tumors and its incidence were both significantly decreased by 50 percent. The inflammation linked with colitis, known to be chronic and the development of the tumor was largely diminished by the black raspberries.

“The researchers now hope to obtain funding to begin clinical trials in humans,” said Yang. The black raspberries may also help fighting other diseases and not just cancer.