In good news for curry wallahs, researchers are saying that a compound that makes curry yellow could help fight skin cancer.
Apparently, curcumin, which is found in the spice turmeric, interferes with melanoma cells.
A team at the University of Texas, found in laboratory tests, in a process known as apoptosis, that curcumin made melanoma skin cancer cells more likely to self-destruct.
In an even more promising finding, the same team discovered that curcumin helped stop the spread of breast cancer tumor cells to the lungs of mice.
In the tests Bharat Aggarwal of the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues, treated three batches of melanoma cells, known as cell lines, with curcumin at different doses and for varying times.
The researchers found that the curcumin suppressed two proteins that tumor cells use to keep themselves immortal.
Aggarwal’s team say that based on their studies, they concluded that curcumin is a potent suppressor of cell viability and an inducer of apoptosis in melanoma cell lines.
They do add however, that further investigations and clinical trials are planned to determine the effects of curcumin in animal models of melanoma.
Earlier research has already shown that curcumin, which acts as an antioxidant, can help prevent tumors from forming in the laboratory.
Aggarwal says it is recognised that people who eat plenty of turmeric have lower rates of some cancers, although the spice itself has not been shown to reduce cancer risk in people.
The study will be published in next month’s issue of the journal Cancer.