Spices vs. can­cer

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers -

In the bat­tle against breast can­cer, some sci­en­tists are looking be­yond the lab­o­ra­tory and into the spice cab­i­net.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan at Ann Ar­bor are among those looking for can­cer’s Achilles’ heel in the kitchen. Their re­search, pub­lished in the jour­nal Breast Can­cer Re­search and Treat­ment, found com­pounds in turmeric (an in­gre­di­ent in mus­tard and curry pow­der) and some pep­pers curb growth of breast stem cells, one sus­pected cul­prit be­hind breast can­cer.

Ref­er­ences to spices that har­bor cur­cumin (turmeric) and piper­ine (pep­per) stand out in a pa­per oth­er­wise lit­tered with the lan­guage of ba­sic sci­ence. In­deed, the au­thors’ anal­y­sis builds on re­search into stem cells and mu­ta­tion of a gene known to pre­vent tu­mors. But re­sults sug­gest such com­mon in­gre­di­ents may merit fur­ther study in the sci­en­tific as­sault on can­cer. In fact, the sci­en­tists noted in a news release herald­ing the re­search, plans are un­der way for an earlystage clin­i­cal trial to test hu­man dose tol­er­ance to the com­pounds.

No word was men­tioned on how such doses would be ad­min­is­tered. Out­liers won­ders if the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health funds take­out?

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