Chemical from turmeric helps treat cancer in children: Research

Aug 2, 2017 15:17 IST

Chemical from turmeric helps treat cancer in childrenA group of scientists in the U.S. discovered that curcumin, the bioactive component of turmeric, holds the power to treat cancer in children.

Researchers at Nemours Children’s Hospital and the University of Central Florida (UCF) found that nanoparticles loaded with curcumin can target and destroy neuroblastoma tumour cells.

In the study conducted by the researchers, curcumin was attached to cerium oxide nanoparticles and then tested the nano-curcumin formulation in cell lines of a high-risk form of neuroblastoma.

The report was published recently in Nanoscale.

Key highlights

As per the research, the nano-curcumin formulation induced substantial cell death in neuroblastoma cells while producing no or only minor toxicity in healthy cells.

The study demonstrates a treatment method “without the toxicity of agressive therapy” and shows that nanoparticles can be “an effective delivery vehicle” for cancer drugs.

Curcumin has been shown to have substantial anti-cancer ability; however, its low solubility and poor stability have restricted its use in therapeutic applications.

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What is curcumin?

Curcumin is a bright yellow chemical produced by some plants.

It is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric, a spice heavily used in Indian cuisine.

It is sold as an herbal supplement, cosmetics ingredient, food flavouring, and food colouring.

It was first isolated in 1815 when Vogel and Pierre Joseph Pelletier reported the isolation of a "yellow coloring-matter" from the rhizomes of turmeric and named it curcumin.

Chemically, curcumin is a diarylheptanoid, belonging to the group of curcuminoids, which are natural phenols responsible for turmeric's yellow color.

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