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Japanese cook up cancer-busting synthicurry

Promising results from curcumin 'analogues'

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Japanese scientists have cooked up two synthetic versions of curcumin - the component of turmeric reputed to bring beneficial effects to those who like a quick Ruby.

As we previously reported, curcumin (the principal curcuminoid - a polyphenolic compound - in turmeric) may help to prevent the formation of tumours and combat Alzheimer's disease.

However, as Reuters notes, the compound "loses its anti-cancer attributes quickly when ingested". Accordingly, the latest edition of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics carries a report that boffins have "synthesized two variations - GO-Y030 and GO-Y031 - which have proved more potent and lasting than natural curcumin".

To prove the point, the scientists tested these "analogues" on mice with colorectal cancer. Hiroyuki Shibata, associate professor at Tohoku University's Institute of Development, Ageing and Cancer, duly reported: "Our new analogues (synthetic versions) have enhanced growth suppressive abilities against colorectal cancer cell lines, up to 30 times greater than natural curcumin.

"In a mouse model for colorectal cancer, mice fed with five milligrams of GO-Y030 or GO-Y031 fared 42 and 51 percent better, respectively, than did mice in the control group."

The scientists added that their concoctions may be able to fight other cancers, such as those of the stomach, breast, pancreas and lung. ®

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