Pharmaceutical International News - May 2012
Curry Chemical In Bowel Cancer Trials
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Pharmaceutical International's Lead Reporter on 08/05/2012 - 16:15:00
A key curry ingredient could form the basis of a new bowel cancer treatment approach.
Typically, advanced bowel cancer patients are supplied with FOLFOX - a three-drug chemotherapy blend. But, in up to 60 per cent of cases, it's an inefficient treatment and when it does work, it can be accompanied by unwanted side effects.
Bright yellow in colour, the chemical compound curcumin, which is found in turmeric, has already been associated with several health benefits including pain relief, alongside potential uses in dementia and stroke treatment. Furthermore, there's a small body of research suggesting the chemical might stop cancer spreading, but that's not been proven under clinical trial conditions.
Now, scientists in the UK will aim to redress that by giving a group of advanced bowel cancer patients an experimental combination of curcumin and FOLFOX.
Curry Chemical Cancer Trials
The curry chemical cancer trials will take place at two sites: Leicester General Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary. They'll be led by Leicester University's Professor William Steward who explained, in comments quoted by the BBC: "Once 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."
Professor Steward continued: "The 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."
Curcumin Bowel Cancer Treatment
The curcumin bowel cancer treatment trials will see the chemical-based drugs supplied to around 20 of the trial participants who, one week later, will then get the usual chemotherapy drugs. Meanwhile, the remaining 20 will get just the FOLFOX.
"This 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 future", Steward concluded.
"By 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 patients", Cancer Research UK representative Joanna Reynolds added.
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