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Active principle’ from turmeric improves cancer therapy outcomes: IIT-Madras

Active principle’ from turmeric improves cancer therapy outcomes: IIT-Madras

Chennai, July 13 (UNI) Researchers at the Indian Institute of

Technology-Madras (IIT-M) have shown that the active principle

from turmeric and curcumin could enhance cancer cell death

caused by a protein called ‘TRAIL.’

There have been considerable efforts in developing therapeutic

agents that trigger apoptotic death of cancer cells.

One such agent that has been found promising is a protein called

‘TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand’ (TRAIL). Its ability to

selectively kill cancer cells by ‘apoptosis’ has resulted in a number

of preclinical studies being carried out all over the world, a release

from IIT-M said today.

In cancer treatment, it is important to induce death of the cancer

cells preferentially without extensive damage to healthy cells in

the body.

‘Apoptosis’, or programmed cell death, is generally preferred over

the more aggressive and premature ‘necrosis’ for killing cancer

cells because it releases fewer cellular components that trigger

inflammation than the latter, the release said.

The research was led by Prof Rama Shanker Verma, Bhupat and

Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, Department of Biotechnology,

IIT-Madras.

The results of this work were recently published in the reputed

peer-reviewed journal Pharmacological Reports.

The paper was co-authored by Ms Sridevi Surapally, Ms Madhumathi

Jayaprakasam and Prof Verma.

Prof. Rama Shanker Verma said “despite strong anti-tumor activity

of TRAIL in pre-clinical studies, clinical trials results have hitherto

been unsatisfactory because cancer cells seem to acquire resistance

against TRAIL upon long-term exposure.

Thus, the next round of research has been to find chemicals that can

reverse resistance and increase sensitivity of cancer cells to TRAIL.

Several studies have focused on natural compounds that could

significantly enhance TRAIL-mediated apoptosis at non-toxic

concentrations.

The IIT-M team chose curcumin, the yellow part of the common

turmeric that was used in daily cooking, as a sensitizer of

TRAIL-resistant cancer cells to apoptosis.

Curcumin is already known to be a potent anti-cancer agent

because of its ability to inhibit carcinogenesis and induce

apoptosis in various cancer cells.

Its function as a sensitizer to TRAIL has been shown in cases

of prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and malignant

glioma, the release said.

UNI GV 1314

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