Brock Research Using Icewine Grapes to Fight Cancer

February 15, 2016 | CKTB 610 News

Fighting cancer with icewine grapes is the mission behind a research team based in Niagara. This is research that a Brock University team and a Niagara-based company are pursuing. They are among university-industry partners showcasing their research at Queen’s Park on Wednesday.
The Brock team of biologist Jeff Stuart and students Shehab Selim and Breanne Gillie will discuss their research involving fortifying Niagara company Sweet and Sticky’s Cabernet Franc and Vidal Ice Syrups. Ice Syrup is a non-alcoholic product made from icewine grapes that is sold as a gourmet ingredient throughout the world.  

The researchers are studying how to introduce resveratrol and other polyphenols extracted from grape skins into the company’s products. Resveratrol, found in wine, is a molecule that research has shown to slow the growth of cancer cells and tumours.
 “In Ice Syrup, the levels of resveratrol and related molecules are lower, because it’s not a fermentation process,” explains Stuart, who is a research fellow with Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute.  “Our challenge is to increase these levels.”
“With the recent bad press on sugar, this infused Ice Syrup product would actually allow the company to promote Ice Syrup as a sugar that could have the reality of being healthy for you,” says Sweet and Sticky president Steve Murdza.
The research team’s Feb. 17 visit to Queen’s Park is part of Research Matters’ Queen's Park Pop-Up Research Park, an annual event in which researchers from universities across Ontario showcase their work to politicians and policy makers.
Research Matters is a collaborative project among Ontario’s 21 publicly assisted universities to build new bridges between university researchers and the broader public. The Council of Ontario Universities coordinates the project.