Curcumin proved effective at combating cancer

March 16, 2015 by Carys Garland, Science Network WA
A/Prof Sethi recommends people use turmeric more often in everyday cooking. Credit: iStock

WA scientists have helped re-affirm that curcumin, a chemical compound found in turmeric, is a safe and promising treatment for most cancers and other inflammation-driven diseases.

The international review considered past clinical trials using to treat patients and concluded curcumin was a safe and effective molecule to treat cancer.

Curtin University adjunct research fellow Gautam Sethi says most diseases, including cancer, are caused by the deregulation of multiple genes.

"To treat cancer you need multi-targeted agents, better than mono-targeted agents, which have been used for the past few years," Associate Professor Sethi says.

"Multi-targeted agents are those that target more than one deregulated oncogenic signaling cascades—they are more effective in treating cancer as it has been found that several genes are mutated in a given cancer.

"We can modulate several of such oncogenic genes, which are deregulated in cancer using curcumin."

A/Prof Sethi says curcumin is exceptionally effective for multiple myeloma patients and those suffering from the particularly lethal , for which there are no drugs.

However, curcumin was not found to be as effective in breast being treated with the chemotherapeutic agent cyclophosphamide.

According to the research, curcumin can counteract the effect of cyclophosphamide.

Curcumin safe in high doses

A/Prof Sethi says curcumin is possibly the only drug that can be given at high doses—up to 12g—without any toxicity.

"It can target most of the oncogenic proteins like NF-kB, STAT3, AP-1," he says.

A/Prof Sethi says the only known side effect of the agent is blood thinning, and therefore advises against taking curcumin if undergoing surgery.

He recommends people use turmeric more often in everyday cooking.

A/Prof Sethi says it would be ideal to combine curcumin with other drugs or natural compounds, like piperine, an alkaloid found in pepper to increase its bioavailabilty.

"If we combine it with piperine we see viability increase by 2000 per cent 45 minutes after administering the curcumin," he says.

A/Prof Sethi says there is a lack of data to explain the underlying mechanism of its effect, however, it is known for its anti-inflammatory effects.

"It has been shown that most chronic diseases, including cancer, are caused by inflammation and can be treated by anti-inflammatory agents."

He says more work needs to be done to improve curcumin's viability, as body tissues quickly absorb it.

Curcumin is sold over the counter at pharmacies.

Explore further: Turmeric enhances mood in depression research trial

More information: "The multifaceted role of curcumin in cancer prevention and treatment." Molecules. 2015 Feb 5;20(2):2728-69. DOI: 10.3390/molecules20022728.

Related Stories

Turmeric enhances mood in depression research trial

September 26, 2014
The antidepressant benefits of the Indian spice turmeric have been supported by the results of a trial run by a Murdoch University researcher.

Curcumin's ability to fight Alzheimer's studied

January 13, 2015
One of the most promising new treatments for Alzheimer's disease may already be in your kitchen. Curcumin, a natural product found in the spice turmeric, has been used by many Asian cultures for centuries, and a new study ...

New research adds spice to curcumin's health-promoting benefits

November 6, 2014
The health benefits of over-the-counter curcumin supplements might not get past your gut, but new research shows that a modified formulation of the spice releases its anti-inflammatory goodness throughout the body.

Curcumin blocks the metastasis of colon cancer by a novel mechanism

August 26, 2014
Novel research led by the UA Steele Children's Research Center has identified one of the mechanisms by which curcumin, a bioactive molecule derived from the spice turmeric, can prevent cancer cell metastasis in colon cancer.

Curry spice component may help slow prostate tumor growth

February 10, 2012
Curcumin, an active component of the Indian curry spice turmeric, may help slow down tumor growth in castration-resistant prostate cancer patients on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), a study from researchers at Jefferson's ...

Recommended for you

From the ashes of a failed pain drug, a new therapeutic path emerges

November 16, 2018
In 2013, renowned Boston Children's Hospital pain researcher Clifford Woolf, MB, BCh, Ph.D., and chemist Kai Johnsson, Ph.D., his fellow co-founder at Quartet Medicine, believed they held the key to non-narcotic pain relief. ...

Repurposing FDA-approved drugs can help fight back breast cancer

November 16, 2018
Screening Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved compounds for their ability to stop cancer growth in the lab led to the finding that the drug flunarizine can slow down the growth of triple-negative breast cancer in ...

Traditional chemotherapy superior to new alternative for oropharyngeal cancers

November 16, 2018
A drug increasingly used in combination with radiotherapy to treat a type of cancer that forms in the tonsils or the base of the tongue is inferior to a previously favored option, according to a large, clinical trial led ...

New 'SLICE' tool can massively expand immune system's cancer-fighting repertoire

November 15, 2018
Immunotherapy can cure some cancers that until fairly recently were considered fatal. In addition to developing drugs that boost the immune system's cancer-fighting abilities, scientists are becoming expert at manipulating ...

Anti-malaria drugs have shown promise in treating cancer, and now researchers know why

November 15, 2018
Anti-malaria drugs known as chloroquines have been repurposed to treat cancer for decades, but until now no one knew exactly what the chloroquines were targeting when they attack a tumor. Now, researchers from the Abramson ...

Standard chemotherapy treatment for HPV-positive throat cancer remains the most effective, study finds

November 15, 2018
A new study funded by Cancer Research UK and led by the University of Birmingham has found that the standard chemotherapy used to treat a specific type of throat cancer remains the most effective.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

big_sur805
not rated yet Mar 16, 2015
Turmeric has a very distinct flavor by itself but that flavor seems to almost totally disappear when other herbs and spices are added to whatever you're cooking so you don't even know it's there. I use it almost daily in at least one dish many times in 2 or more. I always add it to pasta sauce, Mexican food, BBQ sauce, scrambled eggs, soups, salad dressing, etc. I buy it in bulk sized jars at Smart and Final and probably get about 1 tsp + in my daily diet.
SusejDog
not rated yet Mar 21, 2015
The only way to get a reliable daily dose is to supplement. I supplement both curcumin+piperine and turmeric+piperine daily independently.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.