Compound Found In Curry Kills Cancer Cells

Researchers may have found another compound that can kill certain cancer cells. This compound is known to be commonly as an ingredient in curry. It is found to be quite effective in killing esophageal cancer cells and may someday be developed as a possible anti-cancer treatment.

Researchers from the Cork Cancer Research Center in Ireland have identified curcumin, usually found in the spice turmeric that gives curries its distinctive yellow color, to be able to kill treated cancer cells within a span of 24 hours.

Cancer of the esophagus is known to kill around half a million people around the world each year. Tumors formed by this type of cancer are known to be deadly with patients only having 12 to 31 percent survival rates during a five year period.

Previous studies have already suggested that curcumin may have the ability to suppress tumors as evidenced in people who eat lots of curry. It was found that people who regularly eat lots of curry are also less prone to cancer of the esophagus. The recent study showed just how curcumin may be doing this.

It seems that the chemical curcumin causes the cancer cells to die by using an unexpected system of cell messages. In people with cancer, the faulty cells usually die by committing some form of cell suicide. Called apoptosis, the cell suicide occurs when proteins called caspases are switched on inside cells.

Curcumin seems to inhibit the caspases and prevents the switch on the cells from being turned on. Further study may be needed in order to understand the effects of curcumin on cancer cells better. Researchers are hoping to eventually develop the compound as an effective anti-cancer treatment in the near future.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091028/sc_nm/us_cancer_curry