Currys ability to fight cancer put to the test
Currys ability to fight cancer put to the test

A chemical found in curry is to be tested for its ability to kill bowel cancer tumours in patients

Curcumin which is found in the spice turmeric has been linked to a range of health benefits

Studies have already shown that it can beat cancer cells grown in a laboratory and benefits have been suggested in stroke and dementia patients as well

Now a trial at hospitals in Leicester will investigating giving curcumin alongside chemotherapy drugs

About 40000 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 at Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicester General Hospital will take part in the trial which will compare the effects of giving curcumin pills seven days before starting standard chemotherapy treatment

Difficult to treat
Prof William Steward who is leading the study said animal tests combining the two were quot100 times betterquot than either on their own and that had been the quotmajor justification for cracking onquot with the trial

He said quotOnce 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

quotThe 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

quotThis 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 futurequot

Joanna Reynolds from Cancer Research UK said quotBy doing a clinical trial like this we will find out more about the potential benefits of taking large amounts of curcumin as well as any possible side effects this could have for cancer patientsquot

Date : 07 May, 2012
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