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Pepper and halt: Spicy chemical may inhibit gut tumors
Date:8/1/2014

ectal cancer samples recently uncovered multiple mutations in the TRPV1 gene, though Raz noted that currently there is no direct evidence that TRPV1 deficiency is a risk factor for colorectal cancer in humans.

"A direct association between TRPV1 function and human colorectal cancer should be addressed in future clinical studies," he said.

But if such proves to be the case, the current study suggests one potential remedy might be spicy capsaicin, which acts as an irritant in mammals, generating a burning sensation in contact with tissue. Capsaicin is already broadly used as an analgesic in topical ointments, where its properties as an irritant overwhelm nerves, rendering them unable to report pain for extended periods of time. It's also the active ingredient in pepper spray.

The researchers fed capsaicin to mice genetically prone to developing multiple tumors in the gastrointestinal tract. The treatment resulted in a reduced tumor burden and extended the lifespans of the mice by more than 30 percent. The treatment was even more effective when combined with celecoxib, a COX-2 non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug already approved for treating some forms of arthritis and pain.

"Our data suggest that individuals at high risk of developing recurrent intestinal tumors may benefit from chronic TRPV1 activation," said Raz. "We have provided proof-of-principle."


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Contact: Michelle Brubaker
mmbrubaker@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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