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Major component in turmeric enhance effect of chemotherapy drug in head and neck cancer
Date:10/19/2010

Cisplatin's suppressive action involves a different pathway through the tumor suppressor proteins p16 and p53, both proteins that again inhibit the activity of cancer growth promoter NFκB.

"We needed to know the mechanism to help us translate this from the lab into the clinic," Wang said. "That information will help us make better decisions on how to design therapies."

The next step in the clinical setting is to give patients oral curcumin prior to surgery and, after surgery, study the excised tumors to determine curcumin's effect on tumor markers, specifically whether there is reduced expression of markers such as growth promoting NFκB. They also will be monitoring to determine if the curcumin results in any side effects. After that, the team would give curcumin to patients also getting chemotherapy and radiation to see if the tumor suppression found in the cells lines and mouse models can be replicated in humans.

Although turmeric is used in cooking, the amount of curcumin needed to produce a clinical response is much larger, about 500 milligrams. Expecting a positive effect through eating foods spiced with turmeric is not realistic, the researchers said.

Curcumin also has a suppressive effect on other cancers, Wang said, including breast, colon and pancreatic cancers. However, the mechanism of suppression in those cancers has not yet been uncovered. It also may be effective against Alzheimer's and aging, Wang said.


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Contact: Kim Irwin
kirwin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California -- Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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