UK & World News
Curry May Help In Fight Against Bowel Cancer
Curry may help to boost the chances of fighting bowel cancer, according to researchers in the UK.
Laboratory tests suggest curcumin, a compound found in the yellow spice turmeric, can increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and has traditionally been used as an alternative remedy for a host of illnesses.
But early test results suggest it may be able to reduce the development of bowel cancer.
The studies began after it was noticed that British Asians were significantly less likely to develop the disease than non-Asians.
Now a two-year trial by scientists from Cancer Research UK and the University of Leicester aims to recruit for further tests about 40 patients with bowel cancer that has spread to the liver.
Chief investigator Professor Will Steward said: "We are very hopeful. You don't often see results like the ones we have had in the laboratory.
"Of course, we have got the hurdle of translating that into human beings.
"Certainly it is very, very promising and we are cautiously optimistic that we might see an improvement in outcome not just in terms of treating the cancer, making people live longer, giving people a better quality of life but also possibly reducing some of the nasty side-effects of chemotherapy."
TV presenter Lynn Faulds Wood, who survived advanced bowel cancer, welcomed the findings.
She told Sky News Online: "We've known for years that this could with all sorts of conditions, but nobody's really tested it, and what's great about this study, it's going to test it on real people and we'll know in a few years' time if this helps people to cope with chemotherapy so more people can survive.
"I'm cured, but that's just luck. I want it to be better than luck. More people should survive because we know we're doing better with the disease, not just luck."
Researchers hope that within three years they will have established once-and-for-all that one of our favourite curry ingredients is helping to prevent bowel cancer.
Colin Carroll, a 62-year-old compliance consultant who lives near Loughborough, is one of the first patients to join the trial.
He agreed to take part after being diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in January.
He said: "The diagnosis came as a big shock because I'd had no symptoms apart from some occasional cramps.
"I'd had a few tests which had come back clear and I'd just been booked for a CT (computed tomography) scan when I was rushed to hospital with a suspected intestinal blockage."
Scans revealed bowel cancer which had spread to the liver.
Three days after being admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary, Mr Carroll underwent emergency surgery to bypass the blockage.
He added: "It's been like a whirlwind. To have something creep up on you like that when you have absolutely no control over it really makes you want to fight back.
"That's why I had no difficulty in agreeing to take part in the trial.
"I've met some amazing people since January and my treatment on the NHS has been fantastic. The way I see it is that I'm being given the best possible chance so in that sense I feel very fortunate."
Dr Joanna Reynolds, Cancer Research UK's director of centres, said: "The Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres network supports research into some of the most novel and exciting new anti-cancer therapies, often providing the first insights into their effect on cancer patients.
"By doing a clinical trial like this we will find out more about the potential benefits of taking large amounts of curcumin, as well as any possible side effects this could have for cancer patients."