An ingredient in curry may help to fight cancer

An ingredient in curry may help to fight cancer

A chemical found in curry could be the answer to killing bowel cancer tumours in patients.

A UK trial is no underway to see whether the ingredient can improve the treatment of people with this specific type of cancer.

Scientists will suppplement standard chemotherapy with pills containing curcumin, a compound found in the yellow curry spice turmeric.

Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and has traditionally been used as an alternative remedy for a host of illnesses like liver disease, digestive disorders, acne and a range of allergies.

The new two-year scentific trial aims to recruit 40 patients with bowel cancer that has spread to the liver.

Chief investigator Professor William Steward, director of the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) at the University of Leicester, said: '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.

'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.

'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.'

The study will take place at Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicester General Hospital.

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