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Spice Compounds Show Potential For Breast Cancer Treatment

December 8, 2009: 07:41 AM EST
Chemotherapy does not affect breast cancer stem cells that fuel the growth of tumors, which is why cancer recurs and spreads. Eliminating the cancer stem cells, researchers say, is the key to controlling cancer. Now laboratory research has found that the dietary compounds curcumin, derived from the spice turmeric, coupled with black pepper-derived piperine, decreased the number of cancer stem cells when applied to breast cells, without any toxic affect on normal breast cells. The curcumin-piperine solution used was 20 times stronger than what is consumed through diet. Scientists plan a clinical trial to determine safe tolerance levels in patients.
Madhuri Kakarala, Dean E. Brenner, et al., "Targeting breast stem cells with the cancer preventive compounds curcumin and piperine", Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, December 08, 2009, © Springer
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