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Curcumin to be trialled as a treatment for bowel cancer patients

Published on 08/05/2012

Curcumin, a chemical found in the spice turmeric, is to be tested for its ability to kill bowel cancer tumours in humans.

Laboratory tests have already suggested that curcumin can boost the ability of chemotherapy drugs to kill bowel cancer cells.

Now, scientists from Cancer Research UK and the University of Leicester will investigate giving curcumin alongside chemotherapy drugs on patients with bowel cancer that has spread to the liver.

Forty patients at Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicester General Hospital will be recruited for the trial. Researchers will compare the effects of giving curcumin pills several days before starting standard chemotherapy treatment.

Animal tests combining the two were 100 times better than either on their own.

Professor William Steward, who is leading the study, said: "Once bowel cancer has spread it is very difficult to treat, partly because the side effects of chemotherapy can limit how long patients can have treatment.

"The prospect that curcumin might increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy is exciting because it could mean giving lower doses, so patients have fewer side effects and can keep having treatment for longer.

"This research is at a very early stage, but investigating the potential of plant chemicals to treat cancer is an intriguing area that we hope could provide clues to developing new drugs in the future."

Curcumin is already known to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and is thought to act as an antioxidant. A recent trial showed that curcumin can help prevent diabetes and obesity.

If you want to be treated for cancer on your private medical insurance, compare health insurance policies with comprehensive cancer cover.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  HealthMedical
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