A team of researchers from Pondicherry University and University of Pittsburgh cancer institute, USA, has proved that curcumin, a bioactive ingredient found in turmeric (Curcuma longa) can prevent and cure bowel cancer (colorectal cancer). So far, anti-cancer properties of curcumin were well-known but the mechanism by which the bright yellow organic compound cures the cancer remained a mystery.
(Article by Bosco Dominique, republished from http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/diet/Its-proven-curcumin-in-turmeric-kills-colon-cancer-cells/articleshow/51339549.cms)
The team, headed by R Baskaran, associate professor (biochemistry and molecular biology) at Pondicherry University, discovered the mechanism by which curcumin kills hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer cells and documented their findings. `Molecular and cellular biochemistry’, a and cellular biochemistry’, a peer-reviewed international journal brought out by Springer Science+Business Media, New York, published their research paper in its March, 2016 edition. he team included Hemanth Naick, a PhD student of Pondicherry University , and Shunqian Jin, a researcher at University of Pittsburgh cancer institute.
Baskaran, while explaining how curcumin selectively destroys bowel cancer cells sparing normal cells, said the organic compound triggers the death of cancerous cells by increasing the level of protein called GADD45a (genes activated during DNA damage). However the compound does not spark the increase of the same protein in normal cells, thus sparing them. “Studies on the effect of curcumin on cancer and normal cells will be useful for the ongoing preclinical and clinical investigations on this potential cancer chemo-preventive agent,” said Baskaran, who has 20 years of experience in cancer research abroad and in India.
The team now has launched efforts to combine curcumin with other natural compounds to discover a new combination with enhanced anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant proper ties. “The absorption rate of curcumin in human body is low. We can work on a combination of curcumin along other organic compounds with anti-cancer properties to effectively cure colorectal cancer,” he said.The incidence of bowel cancer in India has been low when compared to western countries. The annual incidence rates for colon cancer and rectal cancer in men are 4.4 and 4.1 per lakh population respectively.
The incidence of bowel cancer in India has been low when compared to western countries. The annual incidence rates for colon cancer and rectal cancer in men are 4.4 and 4.1 per lakh population respectively.
The researchers attributed the low incidence of bowel cancer to the common use of turmeric in Indian households. However recent changes in food and lifestyle habits have put Indians at an increased risk. Bowel cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in the world (fourth in India). According to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), bowel cancer accounted for 8% of all cancer deaths in the country.
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