The Cancer Cells Killer: Curry Spice

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England scientists researching an extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells. According to British Journal of Cancer, a molecule found in a curry ingredient can kill esophageal cancer cells in the laboratory, suggesting it might be developed as an anti-cancer treatment, scientists said on Wednesday (October 29, 2009). Researchers at the Cork Cancer Research Center in Ireland treated esophageal cancer cells with curcumin - a chemical found in the spice turmeric, which gives curries a distinctive yellow color -- and found it started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours. “These exciting results suggest that scientists could develop curcumin as a potential anti-cancer drug to treat oesophageal cancer,” says Dr Sharon McKenna, lead study author at the Cork Cancer Research Centre, UCC. Scientists have known for a long time that natural compounds have the potential to treat faulty cells that have become cancerous and we suspected that curcumin might have therapeutic value. Dr Geraldine O’Sullivan-Coyne, a medical researcher in our lab had been looking for new ways of killing resistant oesophageal cancer cells. She tested curcurmin on resistant cells and found that they started to die using an unexpected system of cell messages.” Cancers of the esophagus kill more than 500,000 people across the world each year. The tumors are especially deadly, with five-year survival rates of just 12 to 31 percent.