Curry Spice Shuts down MelanomaCurcumin, the ingredient that gives curry its yellow hue, blocked the growth of melanoma tumor cells and even stimulated their death in the laboratory, researchers report .
"We could completely inhibit the growth of the tumor if we used a big enough dose," said study co-author Bharat B. Aggarwal, chief of the Cytokine Research Section in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. His report is set to appear in the Aug. 15 issue of Cancer.
Aggarwal and his colleagues exposed three different cell lines of melanoma to curcumin, which is found in turmeric, a spice used in curry dishes. Exposure to curcumin decreased the cell viability of all three cell lines, they found.
They zeroed in on a molecule called NF-kappa B, which is known to be overactive in several types of tumors, including melanoma. The turmeric shut down the molecule and that lead to inhibition of the tumor growth, Aggarwal explained.
In other preliminary research, including some by Aggarwal's team, turmeric has proven useful in treating multiple myeloma, as well as breast and pancreatic cancers.
Having had really bad sunburns as a kid and being fair-skinned (an indication of my regal English heritage, I'm sure), I'm no doubt a prime candidate for a nice big fat melanoma, so this is good news, in particular, since I already ingest the stuff as an anti-inflammatory for my RA.