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Turmeric inspires discovery of anti-cancer molecules

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source: myelomacrowd.org
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Bhopal: A state-run university in Bhopal discovered anti-cancer molecules after being inspired by the healing properties of turmeric, which have been tried and tested for generations. This breakthrough is a revolutionary way forward in cancer treatment.

The Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya (RGPV) has also applied for a US patent of the discovery of the anti-cancer molecules code-named CTR-17 and CTR-20, informed Vice Chancellor Piyush Trivedi and his doctoral student Dr C Karthikeyan to news agencies on Monday.

“Inspired by the healing properties of turmeric, which is available in every household and considered as an effective antiseptic and given almost to everyone for treating various ailments, we have studied it deeply for almost 10 long years and discovered a molecule based on our findings which has magical effects on treating cancer during pre-clinical trials,” said Trivedi.

He added that this molecule only targets cancerous cells without damaging the others. So, unlike chemotherapy, the process had no side effects.

“The molecules code named CTR-17 and CTR-20 elicits anticancer activity through a mechanism which involves obstruction of cancer cell division by inhibition of tubulin, a protein which is important for many important cellular functions, including chromosome segregation during cell division, intracellular transport, development and maintenance of cell shape, cell motility and distribution of molecules on cell membranes,” explained Karthikeyan, who was a part of the research since the beginning.

Trivedi added that 22 other molecules had also been discovered, which produced good results in clinical trials, and would be a blessing for cancer patients.

The research was carried out in collaboration with Canada-based Advanced Medical Research Institute’s Dr Hyoun Lee’s team. After pre-clinical trials, the clinical trials are also slated to be held there on mice.

“Studies in the lab have also showed that CTR-17 and CTR-20 increased the life span of animals affected with tumour manifold by including tumour regression in mice models without showing any long-term adverse effects, especially less toxicity,” said Trivedi.

Furthermore, if combined with another anti-cancer drug in clinical use – ‘paclitaxel’, a strong synergistic effect is seen. Alone or combined, the molecules have shown strong anti-tumour activity.

“This is a significant discovery especially in the present context when cancer has become world’s dreaded killer disease accounting for 8.2 million deaths (around 13 per cent of all deaths) in 2012 as per the World Cancer Report and scientists embattling cancer are on the lookout for newer effective and safer drugs for anticancer therapy,” Trivedi added.

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Researchers Unveil the Power of Turmeric in Fighting Cancer

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin's clinical application in cancer

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A team of Indian-American researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City, has used an ingenious process to enable curcumin to kill cancer cells.

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric (haldi), the ubiquitous kitchen spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant property.

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin’s clinical application in cancer. A drug needs to be soluble in water as otherwise it will not flow through the bloodstream.

Despite decades of research, the development of efficient strategies that can effectively deliver poorly water-soluble curcumin to cancer cells had remained a challenge.

A team headed by Dipanjan Pan, associate professor of bioengineering at UIUC, has now found a way out.

“Curcumin’s medicinal benefit can be fully appreciated if its solubility issue is resolved,” Pan told this correspondent in an e-mail.

turmeric
Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric’s power to fight cancer. Pixabay

Pan’s laboratory collaborated with Peter Stang at the University of Utah on ways to be able to render curcumin soluble, deliver it to infected tumors and kill the cancer cells.

Because platinum is a commonly used cancer therapeutic agent in the clinic, the researchers decided to experiment with a drug consisting of a combination of platinum and curcumin.

“It is a combination of clever chemistry and nano-precipitation utilising host guest chemistry,” Pan explained. “The sophisticated chemistry leads to self-assembled hierarchical structure that drives the solubility of curcumin and simultaneously delivers an additional anticancer agent, i.e. platinum. The combined therapeutic effect — of curcumin and platinum — is lethal for the cancer cells.”

The team has reported its work in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in the US.

According to their report, the metallocyclic complex created using platinum “not only enabled curcumin’s solubility, but proved to be 100 times more effective in treating various cancer types such as melanoma and breast cancer cells than using curcumin and platinum agents separately”.

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“Our results demonstrate that curcumin works completely in sync with platinum and exerts synergistic effect to show remarkable anticancer properties,” says the report. “The platinum-curcumin combination kills the cells by fragmenting its DNA.”

“Extensive animal studies are in progress in my laboratory, including in rodents and pigs,” Pan said. His team also hopes to prove that this method will be effective in killing cancer stem cells — the birth place of cancer cells — thereby preventing the recurrence of cancer.

Pan’s team included post-doctoral researcher Santosh Misra at UIUC, and Sougata Datta, Manik Lal Saha, Nabajit Lahiri, Janis Louie, and Peter J. Stang from the University of Utah. (IANS)

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