A single pill containing a chemical found in tomato skin could cut the risk of stroke and heart attacks and slow the progression of cancer, scientists claim.
The pill, called Ateronon, contains a chemical known as lycopene, which had previously been shown to help unclog blocked arteries.
Now a further trial has shown that the natural remedy also made patients' blood vessels more efficient, boosted their blood flow and softened arteries that had hardened with age.
Researchers believe the pill may be able to limit the damage caused by heart disease.
Ian Wilkinson, director of Cambridge University's clinical trials unit, said: "We think these results are good news and potentially very significant, but we need more trials to see if they translate into fewer heart attacks and strokes."
Trials showed that the pill helped cells of the endothelium, the layer of cells that lines the blood vessels, to function better.
Scientists developing the pill hope it could be used as an alternative to statins for patients who cannot take the cholesterol-lowering drugs.