Monday September 23, 2019

‘Heat’ compound from chilli peppers could help kill cancer cells

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Chennai: Capsaicin, the compound responsible for chillies’ heat and also used in creams sold to relieve pain if taken in high doses can kill prostate cancer cells. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, have worked out a process wherein the compound responsible for chillies’ heat can be put to yet another effective use.

In this study, researchers Ashok Kumar Mishra and Jitendriya Swain found that, in high doses, the compound causes cell membranes to come apart.

About 10 years ago, researchers reported that capsaicin can kill prostate cancer cells in mice while leaving healthy cells unharmed. But translating that dose for humans would require them to eat a huge number of chili peppers per day.

So the researchers tried to gain a deeper understanding of capsaicin’s effects so it might be harnessed in the future for new medicines.
The scientists were able to detect how the compound interacts with cell membranes by monitoring its natural fluorescence.

The study showed that capsaicin lodges in the membranes near the surface. Add enough of it, and the capsaicin essentially causes the membranes to come apart.

The findings appeared in The Journal of Physical Chemistry B.

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Chilli Can Serve As A Valuable Medicine in Case of Lung Cancer

Additional experiments revealed capsaicin suppresses lung cancer metastasis by inhibiting activation of the protein Src. This protein plays a role in the signalling that controls cellular processes like proliferation, differentiation, motility and adhesion.

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In experiments involving three lines of cultured human non-small cell lung cancer cells, researchers observed capsaicin inhibited invasion, the first step of the metastatic process. Pixabay

Besides spicing up your food, chilli, it seems, also has some medicinal value. New research suggests the compound responsible for chilli’s heat could help slow the spread of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women.

Most cancer-related deaths occur when cancer spreads to distant sites, a process called metastasis.

“Lung cancer and other cancers commonly metastasise to secondary locations like the brain, liver or bone, making them difficult to treat,” said one of the study authors Jamie Friedman from Marshall University in the US.

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They also found mice with metastatic cancer that consumed capsaicin showed smaller areas of metastatic cancer cells in the lung compared with mice not receiving the treatment. Pixabay

“Our study suggests the natural compound capsaicin from chilli peppers could represent a novel therapy to combat metastasis in lung cancer patients,” said Friedman, a doctoral candidate who performed the research in the laboratory of Piyali Dasgupta at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

In experiments involving three lines of cultured human non-small cell lung cancer cells, researchers observed capsaicin inhibited invasion, the first step of the metastatic process.

They also found mice with metastatic cancer that consumed capsaicin showed smaller areas of metastatic cancer cells in the lung compared with mice not receiving the treatment.

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Most cancer-related deaths occur when cancer spreads to distant sites, a process called metastasis. Pixabay

The findings were presented during the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting being held from April 6-9 in Orlando, Florida.

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Additional experiments revealed capsaicin suppresses lung cancer metastasis by inhibiting activation of the protein Src. This protein plays a role in the signalling that controls cellular processes like proliferation, differentiation, motility and adhesion.

“We hope one day capsaicin can be used in combination with other chemotherapeutics to treat a variety of lung cancers,” said Friedman. (IANS)