IIT Madras Research Shows Positive Results for Use of Turmeric in Cancer Treatment

Sabeer Chalana Sabeer Chalana
Content Curator

IIT Madras research has shown that an active solution from turmeric can enhance the death of cancer cells.

The researchers of IIT Madras have said that they found TNF- Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand (TRAIL) as a promising agent. It is a kind of protein which is helpful in killing cancer cells.

The team of IIT Madras chose curcumin, the yellow part of the common turmeric that is used in daily cooking, as a sanitizer of TRAIL-resistant cancer cells.

It has the ability to kill cancer cells selectively and has resulted in numerous preclinical studies being carried out all over the world.

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Uses of Curcumin-

  • Curcumin is a known potent anti-cancer agent because of its ability to inhibit carcinogenesis in various cancer cells.
  • It functions as a sensitizer to TRAIL has been shown in cases of prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and malignant glioma.
  • The IIT Madras research showed that treating leukaemia cancer cells with curcumin sensitises the cells to TRAIL and results in more efficient cell death.
  • Non-toxic concentrations of curcumin can significantly increase the efficiency of TRAIL-induced cell death.
  • “Small concentration[s] of curcumin could potentially enhance the sensitiveness of leukemic cells to TRAIL,” the researchers said in the statement. 

Researchers Cautious About Results-

The statement added that the researchers are, however, cautious in estimating the results as the reactions have been carried out with isolated cells outside the human body, ‘in a test tube’.

It is unclear if the same results can be obtained inside the body, the statement said. This doubt arises because curcumin is known to be poorly absorbed into the blood from the gut and its bioavailability for therapeutic purposes is generally poor.

“Compounds such as quercetin found in onions, green tea etc., and piperazine, found in black and green pepper, have been shown by a few researchers to enhance absorption of curcumin by the body,” Rama Shanker Verma added.

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