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17 March 2011

Spice in curry may help treat cancer

TEL AVIV, Israel, March 3 (UPI) -- Turmeric, a bright yellow spice in curry and what makes mustard yellow, may help treat cancer in combination with an arthritis drug, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Shahar Lev-Ari of Tel Aviv University's School of Public Health at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and colleagues found that curcumin -- turmeric's active ingredient -- can fight cancer when used in combination with a popular anti-inflammatory drug used to treat arthritis -- Celecoxib, which also inhibits proliferation of colon cancer in laboratory settings -- in alleviating the inflammatory response caused when cancer takes root in the body. The treatment has had promising results in human clinical trials, the researchers say.

"Although more testing will be needed before a possible new drug treatment is developed, one could combine curcumin with a lower dose of a cancer anti-inflammatory drug, to better fight colon cancer," Lev-Ari says in a statement.

Curcumin increases the anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects of Celecoxib while reducing its dose -- reducing its toxic side-effects, Lev-Ari says.

"We would like to use this treatment for patients with all types of cancers," says Nadir Arber of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine says.

"It has the promise of being an important life-extending therapy, particularly for non-curable pancreatic cancer, suggested by the very promising results we achieved for 20 pancreatic cancer patients."

The findings are published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology.

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