A curry spice ingredient has been successful in the pre-treatment of ovarian cancer, research has shown.
Scientists from the University of South Dakota, US, discovered that curcumin, a component of the yellow spice turmeric, sensitised the cancer tissue, making it more responsive to radiation therapies.
The team developed a “nanoparticle” curcumin formulation – called Nano-CUR – and tested previously therapy-resistant cancer cells.
Study leader Dr Subhash Chauhan said: “One strategy to improve the effectiveness and limit the toxicity of cancer therapy is to induce chemo/radio-sensitisation in cancer cells using natural dietary phytochemicals like curcumin. However, curcumin is poorly absorbed by the body which limits its effectiveness.
“We have developed a nanoparticle formulation, Nano-CUR, to provide increased bioavailability as well as targeted delivery of curcumin into tumours.”
Pre-treatment was found to lower the doses of treatment needed to suppress the cancerous growth.
Dr Chauhan said: “Nanoparticle mediated curcumin delivery will further improve the sensitisation and therapeutic capabilities. This study demonstrates a novel pre-treatment strategy that could be implemented in pre-clinical animal models and in future clinical trials.”
The findings were published online in the Journal of Ovarian Research.
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