New versions of curry ingredient to fight cancer

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HONG KONG, Nov 6 (Reuters) Scientists in Japan have created two synthetic versions of an ingredient in curry that is noted for its potential to fight cancer.

Some studies have suggested that curcumin, the yellowish component in turmeric that gives curry its flavour, can suppress tumours and that people who eat lots of curry may be less prone to the disease. However, curcumin loses its anti-cancer attributes quickly when ingested.

The scientists wrote in the latest issue of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics that they had synthesised two variations -- GO-Y030 and GO-Y031 -- which have proved more potent and lasting than natural curcumin.

They tested them in mice with colorectal cancer and found that they worked far better.

''Our new analogues (synthetic versions) have enhanced growth suppressive abilities against colorectal cancer cell lines, up to 30 times greater than natural curcumin,'' said Hiroyuki Shibata, associate professor at Tohoku University's Institute of Development, Ageing and Cancer.

''In a mouse model for colorectal cancer, mice fed with five milligrams of GO-Y030 or GO-Y031 fared 42 and 51 per cent better, respectively, than did mice in the control group.'' Like curcumin, the two synthetic versions may be able to fight other cancers, such as gastric cancer and cancer of the breast, pancreas and lung, they added.


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