SINGAPORE -- Curcumin, the yellowish component of turmeric that gives curry its flavor, has long been noted for its potential anti-cancer properties. Researchers from Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, report on an apparent improvement upon nature: two molecular analogues of curcumin that demonstrate even greater tumor suppressive properties. The team presented their findings from the first test of these molecules in a mouse model of colorectal cancer today at the American Association for Cancer Research Centennial Conference on Translational Cancer Medicine.
According to Tohoku University researcher Hiroyuki Shibata, M.D., curcumin is one of the most widely studied plant-based chemicals with anti-cancer properties. Research has associated curcumin with several distinct actions, including the suppression of genes that promote cell growth (for example, the destruction of the pro-cancerous protein catenin), and induction of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in colorectal cancer.
Unfortunately, natural curcumin has what researchers term low bioavailability -- the molecule quickly loses its anti-cancer attributes when ingested, Shibata says. With the aim of improving the therapeutic potential of curcumin, Shibata and his colleagues synthesized and tested 90 variations of the molecules structure. Two, GO-Y030 and GO-Y031, proved to be more potent and bioavailable, than natural curcumin.
Our new analogues have enhanced growth suppressive abilities against colorectal cancer cell lines, up to 30 times greater than natural curcumin, said Shibata, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Oncology at the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer at Tohoku University. In a mouse model for colorectal cancer, mice fed with five milligrams of GO-Y030 or GO-Y031 fared 42 and 51 percent better, respectively, than did mice in the control group.
In 2006, the researchers published basic safety and structural data for GO-Y030 and GO-Y03
|Contact: Staci Vernick Goldberg|
American Association for Cancer Research