Spice-based molecules to fight cancer

While I was away on holiday, a blog reader, thank you! Smiley face, left a comment here about a report, published in August, on the development of a spice-based compound that can stop cancer cells from proliferating and even kill them. And guess which spice is involved in this process? Yep, turmeric!


You can read the full Science Daily article here: http://tinyurl.com/6f4jll. The scientists working on this project are using organic chemistry, computer-aided design and molecular biology techniques. Computer-aided design…well, well, how about that?


So far they have created 40 compounds mainly for use in fighting breast and prostate cancer, emphasizing the synthetic molecules that appear to have the most potential to serve as the basis for anti-cancer drug development.


An important statement: according to the lead researcher, James Fuchs, most of the compounds we’ve made have been more potent than curcumin against the cancer cells. More potent than curcumin. Intriguing! I am looking forward to seeing more published on this topic.

1 Comment

  1. Margaret – I came across this I just found on bioavailability of new form of curcumin that might be useful out of UCLA. Not sure if anything else has reached bioavailability more than 1uM free curcumin in plasma yet even with piperine, so this could be interesting…

    “However, in humans high oral dosing fails to achieve detectable plasma levels. The reported failure to achieve these modest target levels in humans with oral supplements predicts limited success in translating to the clinic. For example, oral gavage of an optimized lipidated curcumin formulation (Verdure Sciences, Noblesville, Indiana) resulted in 11-fold higher levels of curcumin in plasma and 4-fold higher levels in brain compared to equal doses of curcumin powder or curcumin-piperine extracts. A 5 mg curcumin dose delivered by acute gavage in this lipid rich formulation (n=5) resulted in 2.15 ± 0.744 µM mouse brain curcumin levels after 3 hrs. After 2 weeks lipidated formulation at 500 ppm curcumin in chow (n=5) we observed 5.79 ± 1.22 µM mouse brain curcumin, well above the 1-2 µM range of EC50’s for the inhibition of iNOS, IL-1ß, PGE2 and isoprostanes. This suggests oral delivery can achieve our target tissue levels.”

    Source: JPET 326:196-208, 2008. Curcumin Structure-Function, Bioavailability, and Efficacy in Models of Neuroinflammation and Alzheimer’s Disease. Aynun N. Begum, Mychica R. Jones, Giselle P. Lim, Takashi Morihara, Peter Kim, Dennis D. Heath, Cheryl L. Rock, Mila A. Pruitt, Fusheng Yang, Beverly Hudspeth, Shuxin Hu, Kym F. Faull, Bruce Teter, Greg M. Cole, and Sally A. Frautschy. Departments of Medicine (A.N.B., M.R.J., G.P.L., P.K., F.Y., B.H., S.H., B.T., G.M.C., S.A.F.) and Neurology (G.M.C., S.A.F.) and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and The Semel Institute (K.F.F.), University of California, Los Angeles, California; Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center, Sepulveda, California (A.N.B., M.R.J., G.P.L., P.K., F.Y., B.H., S.H., B.T., G.M.C., S.A.F.); Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California (D.D.H., C.L.R., M.A.P.); and Department of Post-Genomics and Diseases, Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Proteomics, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine D3, Osaka, Japan (T.M.)

    Hope this is useful! ? Curtis

    “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Einstein

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