Resveratrol target among the most important discoveries of 2012.
Several major scientific breakthroughs were announced this past year. And as is the end of the year custom in the scientific community and in many scientific journals, the editors of the journal Nature announced a list of the “top scientific discoveries of 2012” (Nature, Dec 20, 2012). This year making the list was the discovery for the resveratrol target. For several years now, scientists had been searching for the mechanisms for how resveratrol functions. Thousands of papers have been published over the years but most have simply described the benefits of resveratrol without fully explaining how it works. Discovering the first resveratrol target within our cells was a monumental key step towards fully understanding this miracle natural compound. It boils down to understanding the sequential steps, and the first step was the key step that was missing and yet needed to facilitate understanding the remaining sequential steps which branch into the various health benefits (from cardiovascular to cancer protection) in addition to extending lifespan. Case in point, the discovery shed some light on how resveratrol affects a specific set of proteins, namely the sirtuins, which are suspected in carrying out the longevity extension and health benefits of resveratrol.
Resveratrol prevents B cells from becoming cancerous after a herpes virus infection.
It has been known for several decades that some viruses can cause cancer. One such virus is Epstein Barr Virus, other wise known as EBV and is a member of the herpes viral family. In another article published at the end the year, a group of scientist discovered that resveratrol treatment reduces the rate of human B cells becoming tumorous when infected with EBV (Plos One, December 2012). The researchers demonstrated that not only did resveratrol reduce the rate at which B cells become cancerous but also demonstrated that only B cells that where already cancerous died whereas normal B cells were not affected by the resveratrol treatment. The authors went on to describe a partial mechanism by which resveratrol was able to prevent the transformation of normal cells into the malignant cancerous stage by showing that resveratrol inhibited viral proteins needed to convert the cells. Although the experiments were simple the research remains important, considering the abundance of herpes viral infections in the world.