Turmeric Increases Treatment Effectiveness in Head and Neck Cancer

LOS ANGELES  — University of California scientists have shown a synthetic version of turmeric can significantly reduce resistance to the well-known chemotherapy drug Cisplatin.

The discovery is particularly good news for those with head and neck cancer.

The drug mimics curcumin, a compound found in the spice that is popular in Southeast Asian cuisine.

Their findings were published in the journal Oncotarget.

The scientists used a first-of-its-kind liposome to target-resistant head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in a two-year study. They found that curcumin and Cisplatin use different pathways to tumors, and that is why the curcumin is able to reach tumors the Cisplatin can’t.

About 600,000 people suffer from head and neck cancers each year, with about 42,000 occurring in the United States. Survival rates average five years for 57 percent of those diagnosed.

The researchers hope their discovery will lead to human clinical trials and the development of new therapies.


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