Friday, May 20, 2011

Curcumin Compound inhibits Effectiveness of Head and Neck Cancer Treatment

    Curcumin, the compound that gives curry powder its yellow/orange color, may inhibit the adverse effects of nicotine in patients with head and neck cancer who continue to smoke.

    A primary reason that head and neck cancer treatments fail is the tumor cells become resistant to chemotherapy drugs. Now, researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that a compound derived from the Indian spice curcumin can help cells overcome that resistance.

    "This work opens the possibility of using lower, less toxic doses of cisplatin to achieve an equivalent or enhanced tumors kill. Typically, when cells become resistant to cisplatin, we have to give increasingly higher doses. But this drug is so toxic that patients who survive treatment often experience long-term side effects from the treatment," says senior study author Thomas Carey, Ph.D., professor of otolaryngology and pharmacology.

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