August 31, 2009
Researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, led by Dr. Bharat Bhushan Aggarwal, have reported that the main ingredient of turmeric inhibits the spread of breast cancer and improves the effectiveness of current remedies. Scientists believe this compound, Curcumin, could lead to a new way of treating people in the advanced stages of the disease. The study, which was published in Clinical Cancer Research, reports that the spice appears to shut down a protein active in the spread of breast cancer.
Dr. Aggarwal and his team studied the cases of 60 mice that had human breast cancer. The cancer was allowed to grow in the mice for some time, after which a mastectomy was performed.
96% of the mice that received no cancer treatment at all went on to develop visible signs of breast cancer that metastasized to the lungs. Once that happens, breast cancer is virtually fatal. Mice that were treated with the chemotherapy drug Taxol did somewhat better: only 75% of them developed lung metastasis. (Taxol, which is currently the front-line chemotherapeutic agent in breast cancers, frequently induces drug resistance after prolonged use). Only 22% of the mice who were given Taxol in conjunction with Tumeric (curcumin) went on to develop lung metastasis, however. Curcumin, which is non-toxic, repelled progression of the disease to the lungs and also appeared to curtail the side effects of Taxol. This is good news in the war against advanced breast cancer, since there have been few proven treatments available after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Topics: Health News