Colon Cancer Treatment: Turmeric Compound ‘Curcumin’ Highly Effective, New Study Finds

First Posted: Jul 26, 2016 07:24 AM EDT

A new study has found that curcumin, a compound present in spice turmeric, has the potential to treat and prevent colon cancer.

According to a study conducted by scientists from Saint Louis University in the United States, a combination of two plant compounds namely curcumin and silymarin may help prevent spread of colon cancer cells because of their medicinal properties, reported ScienceDaily. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and silymarin is a component of milk thistle, which is used to treat liver disease.

The research team studied a line of colon cancer cells in a laboratory model. They initially treated the colon cancer cells with curcumin and then silymarin. It was found that the combination of the two stopped the cells from multiplying and spreading. In fact, the results were found to be more effective when both phytochemicals were used together than when they were put to use alone.

Corresponding author Uthayashanker Ezekiel from Saint Louis University said that the combination of phytochemicals ceased colon cancer cells from growing. Pre-exposing the colon cancer cells to first curcumin and then silymarin also resulted in a high amount of cell death, he added.

"Phytochemicals may offer alternate therapeutic approaches to cancer treatments and avoid toxicity problems and side effects that chemotherapy can cause," Ezekiel said, reported The Express.

While the researchers found that the phytochemicals have the potential to treat colon cancer, they warned that the research is currently in preliminary stage and that more in-depth study is required to determine if the compounds are an effective treatment for colon cancer.

Their next study would see how the curcumin and silymarin impact the actions of molecules that cause cancer cells to change. The effect of the compounds will then studied in an animal model before clinical trials are conducted on humans.

These research findings were published in the Journal of Cancer.

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