Friday, April 13, 2007

How curcumin might fight cancer

Curcumin's anti-cancer mechanism proposed 4/13/07 "The study, published in the journal Cancer Research, adds weight to the growing body of science linking consumption of the spice to decreased risk of certain cancers, like colorectal and prostate cancer...The anti-cancer effects of spices from curcumin to red chili pepper capsaicin have been consistently researched. The lowest incidence of both colorectal and prostate cancers is observed in Asia and the Far East, in particular India and China, and this has been linked to high dietary intake of compounds like turmeric...curcumin decreased the expression of a protein associated with malignant tumor formation called MDM2. The turmeric extract was also found to increase the expression of a protein that increases programmed cell death (apoptosis) of the cancer cells....Curcumin inhibited growth of PC3 xenografts and enhanced the antitumor effects of gemcitabine and radiation. In these tumors, curcumin reduced the expression of MDM2," wrote the researchers. "Down-regulation of the MDM2 oncogene by curcumin is a novel mechanism of action that may be essential for its chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic effects," ..."

In our bodies MDM2 usually acts as a brake on the p53 protein. P53 is a cancer preventing protein. The ratio between these two is crucial. Obviously we know what happens when the ratio tips in favor of MDM2, but what happens when it tips toward P53? It appears longevity is decreased. It's an interesting balance. On the one hand longevity, the other protection from mutations.

Half of all cancers have the p53 protein inactivated.

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