According to a recent article in FierceBiotechResearch, a study from researchers at Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center found that one of the ingredients commonly found in curry seasoning has been found to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells, both in mice and in petri dish tests. Of course, I’m excited by the news because I love curry and I’ve always believed that South Asian cuisine has medicinal qualities. Putting my love of Indian and Thai food aside, it looks like the practical application of this finding will be found in the development of new drugs that harness the power of curcumin.
“The scientists believe that curcumin, an element of the turmeric spice, could form the basis of a drug that helps block androgen receptor signaling, something that could be used along with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) to help boost its effectiveness. Androgen is a male hormone that fuels prostate cancer growth, and it turns out that ADT can’t always keep the prostate cancer from spreading.”
So, it looks like a new treatment for prostate cancer will not include eating massive doses of Indian food. However, it does look like curcumin could lead to a new food-based drug of real significance. To access the story on FierceBiotechResearch, go to http://tinyurl.com/6q54cmh.
Here’s the body of the Press Release announcing this exciting new finding:
Curry spice component may help slow prostate tumor growth
Data supports use of curcumin in combination with androgen deprivation therapy to reduce castrate-resistant prostate cancer cell and tumor growth
PHILADELPHIA – Curcumin, an active component of the Indian curry spice turmeric, may help slow down tumor growth in castration-resistant prostate cancer patients on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), a study from researchers at Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center suggests.
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Reporting in a recent issue of Cancer Research, Karen Knudsen, Ph.D., a Professor of Cancer Biology, Urology and Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, and colleagues observed in a pre-clinical study that curcumin suppresses two known nuclear receptor activators, p300 and CPB (or CREB1-binding protein), which have been shown to work against ADT.
ADT aims to inhibit the androgen receptor-an important male hormone in the development and progression of prostate cancer-in patients. But a major mechanism of therapeutic failure and progression to advanced disease is inappropriate reactivation of this receptor. Sophisticated tumor cells, with the help of p300 and CPB, sometimes bypass the therapy.
Thus, development of novel targets that act in concert with the therapy would be of benefit to patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer.
For the study, prostate cancer cells were subjected to hormone deprivation in the presence and absence of curcumin with “physiologically attainable’ doses. (Previous studies, which found similar results, included doses that were not realistic.)
Curcumin augments the results of ADT, and reduced cell number compared to ADT alone, the researchers found. Moreover, the spice was found to be a potent inhibitor of both cell cycle and survival in prostate cancer cells.
To help support their findings, the researchers also investigated curcumin in mice, which were castrated to mimic ADT. They were randomized into two cohorts: curcumin and control. Tumor growth and mass were significantly reduced in the mice with curcumin, the researchers report.
These data demonstrate for the first time that curcumin not only hampers the transition of ADT-sensitive disease to castration-resistance, but is also effective in blocking the growth of established castrate-resistant prostate tumors.
“This study sets the stage for further development of curcumin as a novel agent to target androgen receptor signaling,” said Dr. Knudsen. “It also has implications beyond prostate cancer since p300 and CBP are important in other malignancies, like breast cancer. In tumors where these play an important function, curcumin may prove to be a promising therapeutic agent.”
Contact: Steve Graff
Thomas Jefferson University