Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Currying Favour In Fight Against Cancer

Does the entire Indian subcontinent know something that Western medicine is only now beginning to investigate?
A chemical in curry is being tested for its ability to kill bowel cancer tumours!
Curcumin, found in the turmeric spice, has been linked to a range of health benefits. Studies have already shown it can beat cancer cells grown in a laboratory, and benefits have also been suggested in stroke and dementia patients.
Now a UK trial at hospitals in Leicester is giving curcumin alongside chemotherapy drugs. About 40,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK each year. If the disease spreads around the body, patients are normally given a combination of three chemotherapy drugs, but about half will not respond.
Forty patients will take part in this trial, which will compare the effects of giving curcumin pills seven days before starting standard chemotherapy treatment.
Professor William Steward, leading the study, says animal tests combining the two were "100 times better" than either on their own and that's been the major justification for continuing with the trial: "Once bowel cancer has spread it's 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 may lead to developing new drugs in the future. A clinical trial will help researchers discover more about the potential benefits of taking large amounts of curcumin, as well as any possible side effects.
Well, apart from the possibility of an increase in 'global warming side effect', I guess 1.2 billion Indians can't be wrong!

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