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Scientists Synthesize "Super" Curcumin Molecules to Fight Cancer

Thursday, May 01, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: curcumin, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Japanese researchers have synthesized two artificial versions of a chemical found in curry that is known to help fight cancer, according to a report published in the journal "Molecular Cancer Therapies."

Curcumin, the ingredient that makes turmeric (and thus curry) yellow, has long been known to provide potent anti-cancer benefits. The chemical has been found to suppress genes that promote the cell growth that can lead to cancer and to help induce programmed cell death in cases of colorectal cancer. Studies have suggested that there may be an association between high curry consumption and lower cancer rates.

However, the chemical quickly breaks down when ingested, making its dietary benefits minimal.

Researchers produced and tested 90 variations on the original curcumin molecule in search of one that would be more effective inside the human body. Two of those varieties, GO-Y030 and GO-Y031, appeared to meet the criteria: In addition to remaining active inside the body for longer, the chemicals were substantially more effective than unmodified curcumin.

"Our new analogues have enhanced growth-suppressive abilities against colorectal cancer cell lines, up to 30 times greater than natural curcumin," said researcher Hiroyuki Shibata of Tohoku University. "In a mouse model for colorectal cancer, mice fed with five milligrams of GO-Y030 or GO-Y031 fared 42 and 51 percent better, respectively, than did mice in the control group."

While the chemicals were only tested against colorectal cancer, the researchers expressed hope that, like curcumin, they would also be effective against breast, gastric, lung or pancreatic cancer.

The scientists plan to continue researching the new molecules to discover their safety, pharmaceutical properties, and ways to make them into drugs.

"In addition to their chemopreventative abilities, these molecules might also form the basis of a potent chemotherapy, either alone or in combination with other modes of therapy," Shibata said.

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