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Turmeric’s ‘Smart Kill’ Properties Put Chemo & Radiation to Shame

The ancient Indian spice turmeric strikes again! A new study finds turmeric extract selectively and safely killing cancer stem cells in a way that chemo and radiation cannot.

A ground-breaking new study published in the journal Anticancer Research reveals that one of the world’s most extensively researched and promising natural compounds for cancer treatment: the primary polyphenol in the ancient spice turmeric known as curcumin, has the ability to selectively target cancer stem cells, which are at the root of cancer malignancy, while having little to no toxicity on normal stem cells, which are essential for tissue regeneration and longevity.

Titled, “Curcumin and Cancer Stem Cells: Curcumin Has Asymmetrical Effects on Cancer and Normal Stem Cells,” the study describes the wide range of molecular mechanisms presently identified by which curcumin attacks cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are the minority subpopulation of self-renewing cells within a tumour colony, and which alone are capable of producing all the other cells within a tumour, making them the most lethal, tumorigenic of all cells within most if not all cancers.  Because CSCs are resistant to chemotherapy, radiation, and may even be provoked towards increased invasiveness through surgical intervention, they are widely believed to be responsible for tumour recurrence and the failure of conventional treatment.

He study identified the following 8 molecular mechanisms by which curcumin targets and kills cancer stem cells:

  • Down-regulation of interleukin-6 (IL-6): IL-6 is classified as a cytokine (a potent biomolecule released by the immune system) and modulates both immunity and inflammation. It’s over expression has been linked to the progression from inflammation to cancer. Curcumin inhibits IL-6 release, which in turn prevents CSC stimulation.
  • Down-regulation of interleukin-8 (IL-8): IL-8, another cytokine, is released after tumour cell death, subsequently stimulating CSCs to regrow the tumour and resist chemotherapy. Curcumin both inhibits IL-8 production directly and indirectly.
  • Down-regulation of interleukin-1 (IL-1): IL-1, a family of cytokines, are involved in response to injury and infection, with IL-1 β playing a key role in cancer cell growth and the stimulation of CSCs. Curcumin inhibits IL-1 both directly and indirectly.
  • Decrease CXCR1 and CXCR2 binding: CXCR1 and CXCR2 are proteins expressed on cells, including CSCs, which respond to the aforementioned cytokines in a deleterious manner. Curcumin has been found to not only block cytokine release, but their binding to these two cellular targets.
  • Modulation of the Wnt signalling pathway: The Wnt signalling pathway regulates a wide range of processes during embryonic development, but are also dsyregulated in cancer. Curcumin has been found to have a corrective action on Wnt signalling.
  • Modulation of the Notch Pathway: The Notch signalling pathway, also involved in embryogenesis, plays a key role in regulating cell differentiation, proliferation and programmed cell death (apoptosis), as well as the functioning of normal stem cells. Aberrant Notch signalling has been implicated in a wide range of cancers. Curcumin has been found to suppress tumour cells along the Notch pathway.
  • Modulation of the Hedgehog Pathways: Another pathway involved in embryogenesis, the Hedgehog pathway also regulates normal stem cell activity. Abnormal functioning of this pathway is implicated in a wide range of cancers and in the stimulation of CSCs and associated increases in tumour recurrence after conventional treatment. Curcumin has been found to inhibit the Hedgehog pathway through a number of different mechanisms.
  • Modulation of the FAK/AKT/FOXo3A Pathway: This pathway plays a key role in regulating normal stem cells, with aberrant signalling stimulating CSCs, resulting once again in tumour recurrence and resistance to chemotherapy. Curcumin has been found
  • In multiple studies to destroy CSCs through inhibiting this pathway.

As you can see through these eight examples above, curcumin exhibits a rather profound level of complexity, modulating numerous molecular pathways simultaneously. Conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy is incapable of such delicate and “intelligent” behaviour, as it preferentially targets fast-replicating cells by damaging their DNA in the vulnerable mitosis stage of cell division, regardless of whether they are benign, healthy or cancerous cells.  Curcumin’s selective cytotoxicity, on the other hand, targets the most dangerous cells – the cancer stem cells – which leaving unharmed the normal cells.

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By Sayer Ji

(Source:  greenmedinfo.com; March 22, 2015; http://tinyurl.com/nflsdzw)

About hopegirl2012

Naima Feagin (HopeGirl) holds an MBA and a variety of business experience in corporate and government finance and small business entrepreneurship. In 2012, she left the corporate world to build an online business through blogging, marketing, teaching and a passion for humanitarian projects. In 2014 her stepfather designed and open sourced a free energy generator prototype. She traveled around the world building free energy prototypes and growing her online business. This is also when she met her partner Tivon. She has played a large role as a public spokesperson for her family’s free energy project. Hope and Tivon also sponsor a local community center for women and children. They are both American ex-pats that live and work together in Morocco.

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