Curcumin in Turmeric Kicks Off Cancer-Killing Mechanisms in Human Saliva
Curcumin, the main component in the spice turmeric, suppresses a cell signaling pathway that drives the growth of head and neck cancer, according to a pilot study using human saliva by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Curcumin has a significant inhibitory effect, blocking two different drivers of head and neck cancer growth:
It binds to and prevent an enzyme known as IKK, an inhibitor of kappa β kinase, from activating nuclear factor kappa β (NFκβ), a transcription factor that promotes cancer growth.
It also affected the cancer by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines within the saliva.
In this study, 21 patients with head and neck cancers gave samples of their saliva before and after chewing two curcumin tablets totaling 1,000 milligrams. One hour later, an additional sample of saliva was taken and proteins were extracted and IKKβ kinase activity measured. Thirteen subjects with tooth decay and five healthy subjects were used as controls.
"We believe curcumin could be combined with other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, to treat head and neck cancer. It also could perhaps be given to patients at high risk for developing head and neck cancers — smokers, those who chew tobacco and people with the HPV virus — as well as to patients with previous oral cancers to fight recurrence," said senior study author Dr. Marilene Wang, a professor of head and neck surgery and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher.
“While this is a promising pilot study, it's important to expand our work to more patients to confirm our findings," adds Wang.
“To be effective in fighting cancer, the curcumin must be used in supplement form. Although turmeric is used in cooking, the amount of curcumin needed to produce a clinical response is much larger. Expecting a positive effect through eating foods spiced with turmeric is not realistic,” Wang cautioned.
The study appears Sept. 15 in Clinical Cancer Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Association of Cancer Research.
This summary is prepared by The Zestzfulness Team from materials provided by the University of California Newsroom. You can view the press release HERE.
S. G. Kim, M. S. Veena, S. K. Basak, E. Han, T. Tajima, D. W. Gjertson, J. Starr, O. Eidelman, H. B. Pollard, M. Srivastava, E. S. Srivatsan, M. B. Wang. Curcumin Treatment Suppresses IKK Kinase Activity of Salivary Cells of Patients with Head and Neck Cancer: A Pilot Study. Clinical Cancer Research, 2011; DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-1272
UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has more than 240 researchers and clinicians engaged in disease research, prevention, detection, control, treatment and education. One of the nation's largest comprehensive cancer centers, the Jonsson Center is dedicated to promoting research and translating basic science into leading-edge clinical studies. In July 2011, the center was named among the top 10 cancer centers nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, a ranking it has held for 10 of the last 12 years.
HEAD AND NECK CANCER PREVENTION
The University of Iowa offers Head and Neck Cancer Prevention Tips.
Turmeric has many uses in our recipes; it is easy to include it in our daily meal as a health maintenance measure.
Narcox is a tablet with a patented purified form of curcumin that is reputed to be 4000x better absorbed into the blood stream than raw curcumin. It is taken once or twice for moderate to severe joint pains without the severe side effects of NSAIDS such as cardiovascular problems, strokes and gastrointestinal injuries or bleeding.
The following are our other recent posts on curcumin:
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