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Thursday 18th July 2019

Can curry fight cancer?

8th May 2012

Researchers at Leicester University have said they will carry out a trial to find out if a chemical found in a spice used in curries could fight bowel cancer tumours.


The spice turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which scientists have found can kill off cancer cells in laboratory tests.

The researchers said 40 patients at Leicester General Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary would participate in the trial.

Patients will be given curcumin tablets a week before they begin chemotherapy treatment and the researchers will analyse the effects.

Prof William Steward, from Leicester University, who is heading the study, said animal tests which gave patients a combination of chemotherapy and curcumin were "a hundred times better" than if they were given individually and that was the "major justification for cracking on" with the research.

He said: "Once bowel cancer has spread it is very difficult to treat, partly because the side effects of chemotherapy can limit how long patients can have treatment.

"The prospect that curcumin might increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy is exciting because it could mean giving lower doses, so patients have fewer side effects and can keep having treatment for longer."

Bowel cancer affects around 40,000 people every year in the UK.


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