Nope, survivin is not a typo. A new study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Experimental Hematology (Chinese Association of Pathophysiology), examines the effects that curcumin had on a human (peripheral blood) MM cell line: RPMI 8226. The results are interesting but hardly surprising. One word says it all: apoptosis! Curcumin, in fact, was found to down-regulate survivin (there’s that word, again!) and Bcl-2 mRNA, and to up-regulate Bax mRNA. Hmmm, what are these three items? Survivin is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family. Not a nice family to have in your neighbourhood, I would say. 😉 A study published in February of 2007 (http://tinyurl.com/2s9xon) informs us that there is a significant correlation between survivin expression at protein level and clinical course of MM. Therefore, the down-regulation of survivin is good news for us MMers. As for Bcl-2, it’s an anti-apoptotic gene which may contribute to the chemoresistance of MM cells. In fact, MM cells that survive chemotherapy treatments show increased levels of this gene. See: http://tinyurl.com/3468dk So the down-regulation of Bcl-2 is also good news. And, finally, Bax is a protein that promotes apoptosis. Aaaah, apoptosis, which has become my favourite word in the English language ever since I was diagnosed with MM in 2005. Okay, back to us and the new curcumin-MM study. Unfortunately, since I do not have a reading knowledge of Chinese, I will not be able to comment on the full study. But the abstract, which can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2hh378, certainly adds a few more details to the story of how curcumin is able to kill MM cells.
I am slowly getting back to my normal routine after returning from our summer holiday, but introducing a funny, adorable but also rambunctious kitten into our household is taking more time and energy than I had predicted. Our three adult cats are still hissing and growling and being quite grumpy, but surprisingly this is having no negative effect on Peekaboo’s cheerful and positive attitude. What I cannot figure out is WHY she will happily bounce right up to their noses while they are growling and baring their fangs talk about tempting fate! I expect she will get whacked at some point, but so far that has not happened. Right now she is fast asleep right by my keyboard. Cutie pie. At any rate, I will continue to do research in my snippets of time (and try to answer the e-mails I have received, sorry for the delay!). And, ah yes, I have a couple of very promising new substances on my list! Time for lunch! 😉