Scientists battling mesothelioma have been researching a chemical more commonly found in the kitchen cupboard. Curcumin is a yellow chemical found in turmeric and it is hoped that it could help to shrink mesothelioma cells.
What research has taken place?
Researchers in France worked with rats to test the chemical. The rats were injected with asbestos and sarcomatoid mesothelioma tumours developed in their abdomens. The researchers took cells from these tumours and treated them with varying levels of curcumin to determine the best dose.
These initial tests had positive results, which allowed the researchers to move on to in vivo testing. ‘In vivo testing’ is when the treatment is tested on living animals. In vivo testing is necessary because treatments which work well on mesothelioma cells, may not work when injected into the body. During the in vivo testing, curcumin was injected into the rats’ peritoneal cavities which contained mesothelioma. Once again, the results were promising.
The positive results:
The tumours which were treated with curcumin started to be destroyed after less than two weeks. In comparison to treatment with SAHA (an epigenetic drug), curcumin appears to be more effective and causes more damage to the tumours.
However, the curcumin did not completely destroy all of the mesothelioma in the rats. Following the treatment, the rats still had residual tumours and pockets of resistant mesothlial cells. However, there were fewer residual tumours and cells than found in rats treated by SAHA. Furthermore, the remaining mesothelioma tended to be surrounded by cancer killing T cells and had less growth chemicals. This suggests that the tumours would not develop so aggressively after treatment with curcumin.
A positive result for mesothelioma patients:
The findings of this research are extremely positive. One of the researchers, Dr Pouliquen said; “These data open up interesting new prospects for the therapy of sarcomatoid mesothelioma with curcumin and its derivatives”. Further research is needed to see if the results can be replicated in people but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
How can we help?
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