Traditional Culinary Spice Helps Enhance Drug Action on Cancer Cells

Spices and condiments are traditionally used in several recipes in varying proportions. In addition to conferring appetizing aroma and flavor to the dishes, they have innumerable health promoting and disease prevention attributes. Particularly in sub-continental region they have been historically produced and used extensively. Clinical experts believe that the incidence of colorectal cancer in the sub-continent is far less than the western world. Probably the use of these spices has something to do with this fact, though establishing a significant correlation need elaborate epidemiological analysis.

Cancer cells

The leading cause of worldwide mortality is cancer. Among different forms of cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most common form among men and among females it is the second most prevalent form and accounts for fourth most common cause of mortality. This public health concern is further compounded by the fact that the screening, treatment, site-specific therapies, supportive and palliative care are highly cost-intensive, thus making its diagnosis and treatment less amenable to the poor sections of populations.

The prominent risk factors for incidence of colorectal cancer are genetic, environmental and life-style related. Though chemotherapy is the potential mode of treatment, it has its own adverse side effects and complications. Therefore, there is a constant search for new and safer drugs which can regulate carcinogenesis with minimal toxic side effects. Curcumin, a natural compound present in the traditional culinary spice, the turmeric, is one such potential candidate with a well-established anti-mutagenic and inflammatory property. Its role in regulation of pharmaceutical drug effect is being emphasized.

Cancer cells resist the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapeutic drugs. This is attained by activation of plasma-membrane glycoprotein that promotes outward movement of the accumulated drug, thus reducing the drug cytotoxicity. Multi drug resistance poses substantial obstacle for treatment of cancer. Rouf War from China generated multidrug resistance colon cancer cell lines. On these cell lines the researcher studied the effect of Doxorubicin hydrochloride (DOX) alone and in combination with Curcumin, a bioactive component extracted from Curcuma longa (Turmeric) rhizome. The study revealed that Curcumin co-treatment resulted in increased amount of dead cancer cells after the drug treatment. This indicated that the chemo-resistance mechanism of drug efflux pump was inhibited thus sensitizing the cancer cells to the drug action.

This in vitro experimental research has immense significance in developing effective and safe treatment modules for colorectal cancer even while maintaining and supporting the growth of normal cells. This research article appeared in Journal of Cancer Research and Immuno-Oncology of Longdom Publishing SL. Longdom Publishers have a wide spectrum of journal portfolios covering Clinical and Medical Sciences. The journal periodically publishes experimental and clinical research endeavors on biochemical and immunological aspects of cancer diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and management. The journal has posted a standing invitation for production of special issue on recent and trending research activities on carcinogenesis and emerging therapeutic modules.

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