A spice commonly found in Middle Eastern recipes could have cancer-reducing effects, according to a report in the journal The Prostate.
Curcumin, found in turmeric, has cancer reducing properties
UNM researchers have found that a synthetic version of curcumin, the substance which gives turmeric its hallmark yellow colouring, inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Whilst curcumin has anti-cancer potential, it is not easily absorbed into the body in its natural state. The researchers created a synthetic curcumin compound called ca27 which can be taken up by the body.
Alexandra Fajardo, a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology said: “At no point can we say that it is going to be beneficial to humans, because we just don’t know that yet.”
“What we do know, though, is that ca27 is a great tool that allows us to gain more insight into studying a prominent target in prostate cancer, namely the androgen receptor.”
The scientists say that the next step is to determine whether ca27 also affects normal cells, and how toxic the compound is to animals. Researchers will inject human tumour cells under the skin of mice, and then inject them with ca27 to determine the effects.
If the animal testing proves successful, human testing of the curcumin compound could then begin.
Turmeric has actually been used in traditional medicine for a variety of ailments in Asia for thousands of years. This study follows our report that curcumin is beneficial to people suffering with tendonitis.
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