CANCER is tackled using a variety of drugs and treatments, but turmeric spice – famously now used in lattes as well as curries – could be the key to a future method.
Turmeric lattes have become one of the trendiest drinks order of late, however, a study has found that it may kill cancer cells when used in nanoparticles.
The research published in Nanoscale revealed how nanoparticles loaded up with an ingredient of the spice turmeric could treat neuroblastoma.
It’s the most common kind of cancer in infants.
The rare condition affects a hundred children a year, mostly below the age of five.
However, the curcumin chemical in turmeric has shown promise destroying neuroblastoma tumor cells.
These cells had previously been resistant to other drugs.
The researchers believe that if this new treatment works, it could provide a less toxic and unpleasant way to treat patients than traditional treatments such as chemotherapy.
Tamarah J. Westmoreland, lead study author from the University of Central Florida, said: “High-risk neuroblastoma can be resistant to traditional therapy, and survival can be poor.
“This research demonstrates a novel method of treating this tumour without the toxicity of aggressive therapy that can also have late effects on the patient’s health.”
Using curcumin in this way is not completely new, but it’s the first time they’ve been paired with nanoparticles.
In the study, cerium oxide nanoparticles loaded with curcumin and coated in dextran were shown to cause “substantial” cell death in neuroblastoma cells while having little impact on healthy cells.
Neuroblastoma normally begins near the kidneys.
What’s more, it often returns.
The next step will be to test whether the positive effects can be replicated in animal trials as well as lab tests.
Westmoreland added: “We are hopeful that in the future, nanoparticles can be utilised to personalise care to patients and reduce the late effects of therapy.”