Printer Friendly

Turmeric component kills cancer cells.

The curry spice turmeric gets its yellow color from curcumin. This same compound kills cancer cells in laboratory tests, researchers report in the Sept. 20 International Journal of Cancer.

When mixed with cells from human head and neck cancers, curcumin stopped proliferation and induced cell suicide, or apoptosis, in the malignant cells, says study coauthor Yasunari Takada, a molecular biologist at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Curcumin had no effect on healthy, cells.

Curcumin is an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory effects. In this study, it suppressed the activity of NF-kappa-B, a protein that is overproduced in tumor cells. NF-kappa-B switches on genes for proteins involved in inflammation and cell replication.

Previous research suggested that curcumin stops proliferation of prostate cancer cells (SN: 5/18/02, p. 317). It also kills human breast and liver cancer cells in lab cultures, scientists from India report in the September Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Tests on mice hint that curcumin might fend off Alzheimer's disease, too (SN: 12/8/01 p. 362).

Cancer researchers have taken an interest in curcumin because many countries with curry-rich cuisines, such as Sri Lanka, have lower cancer rates than Western countries have.

Takada and his coworkers are now screening curcumin's effects on other types of cancer cells, including melanoma.--N.S.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Biomedicine
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 9, 2004
Previous Article:Fighting cholesterol with saturated fat?
Next Article:Hurrying a nuclear identity switch.

Related Articles
Still looking for cancer immunotherapy.
Lessons learned from research with chloroform.
Making light work of a cell's skeleton.
Can a cold virus slay cancer cells?
Compounds trigger tumor-cell suicide.
Advances in cancer immunotherapy.
Virus attack on cancer: heat makes neglected technology work better.
Vitamin C may treat cancer after all.
Engineering a cure: genetically modified cells fight cancer.
Warming up to hyperthermia: heat therapy could improve existing cancer treatments.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters