Can This Household Spice Help Kill Cancer Cells?

Neuroblastoma, though rare, is the most common type of cancer in children who are five years old or younger. This cancer targets the immature nerve cells in the nerve tissue and can cause a series of debilitating complications in the children it affects.
We all know that cancer is extremely difficult and painful to treat, especially for children, but scientists have recently devised a potential novel neuroblastoma treatment by using nanoparticles that are armed with an ingredient of turmeric.

Turmeric may sound familiar because it is a common household spice that is traditionally used in curries.

Does this mean that eating lots of curry will help cure cancer? No.

It turns out that the real advantageous aspect of turmeric in cancer treatment is actually found in the curcumin chemical in this spice.

Is this some old witch doctor’s tale?
Source: Giphy
Also, no.

Curcumin has already shown optimistic progress in clinical tests that destroy neuroblastoma tumor cells, so there is evidence backing up this unusual claim. Furthermore, shockingly, using turmeric’s curcumin to combat cancer isn’t a novel idea. It just hasn’t been accomplished yet because of practicality issues with the chemical. for it is difficult to get curcumin into drugs because it has extremely low solubility and poor stability.

If scientists are able to further develop and determine how exactly to adapt curcumin of turmeric into a safe and complete treatment option, it would be a much-needed less unpleasant and toxic option for patients that currently rely on chemotherapy.
Latest research is making strides in this, and a new study has suggested that nanoparticles could be used to fix these practicality issues. In fact, in one study, cerium oxide nanoparticles that were armed with curcumin and covered in dextran caused “substantial” cell death in neuroblastoma cells, all while having little negative impact on healthy cells: the optimal combination for a cancer treatment.
But, it gets better. These nanoparticles were also more useful against extremely resistant cancer cells that typically are not receptive to conventional cancer treatments, and they can also kickstart the immune system, which only helps the body fight the cancer using its own resources.

The next steps for this spicy treatment are for researchers to demonstrate similar encouraging effects in animal trials and laboratory tests. After this, it will hopefully only be a matter of time before we see turmeric in the pharmacy, not just in the grocery store.

To read more about nanoparticles and turmeric from Science Alert, click here!

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