Wild berries native to North America may have a role in boosting cancer therapy, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Pathology.
Scientists suggest chokeberries could work in combination with conventional drugs to kill more cancer cells. But the UK research is at an early stage, with experiments carried out only on cancer cells in laboratories.
Cancer Research UK says much more work is needed to test the effectiveness of berries, particularly in human trials. Researchers from the University of Southampton and King's College Hospital, London, tested a berry extract on pancreatic cancer samples. Pancreatic cancer is particularly hard to treat and has an average survival period of just six months after diagnosis.
The study found that when the berry extract was used, together with a conventional chemotherapy drug called gemcitabine, more cancer cells died than when the drug was used alone. But the scientists say the chokeberry had no effect on normal body cells tested in this way.