Pills made from rice, berries and red wine could soon be available to help prevent cancer.
British scientists are pioneering the use of food compounds to protect against tumours in the breast, colon and prostate.
They are studying four different pills after examining the diets of people who are less likely to develop cancer.
The tablets are made from isolated chemical compounds in Thai sticky rice, bilberries, red wine and spices, and should be available by 2010. Scientists have been given financial backing to test the red wine pill in the laboratory by Cancer Research UK.
Professor Will Steward, a cancer and molecular medicine expert, said it was the latest step in the fight to find drugs that stop cells becoming malignant - a technique called chemoprevention.
"These agents have proved highly effective in the laboratory - it is extraordinary," he said.
"They act in numerous ways on pre-cancerous cells but they also appear to be effective on cancerous cells. We know they are safe to use but we want to establish if they are effective in humans."
Many people already take supplements such as selenium in the belief it might cut the risk of them developing lung, bowel and prostate cancer.
A trial in America is looking at the role of selenium in protecting against prostate cancer but the full results are not expected until 2012.
Professor Steward said: "We want to be more scientific about developing a tablet that can have an effect by focusing on the chemical compound that already appears to reduce the risk in some people."
His work at the University of Leicester is based on evidence that rural populations in Thailand who eat a high proportion-of sticky rice are less likely to develop breast cancer.
Source - Daily Mail