In a new study, researchers have found that turmeric may help stop cancer cell growth.
They have developed a drug delivery system using curcumin, the main ingredient in turmeric, that successfully inhibits bone cancer cells while helping with the growth of healthy bone cells.
The finding may lead to better post-operative treatments for people with a bone cancer called osteosarcoma.
The research was conducted by a team from Washington State University.
Young patients with bone cancer are often treated with high doses of chemotherapy before and after surgery. But the chemotherapy often has many harmful side effects.
Therefore, it is important to develop gentler treatment options to help patients recover from bone damage while suppressing tumor growth.
Turmeric has been used in cooking and as medicine for centuries in Asian countries.
Its active ingredient called curcumin has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and bone-building capabilities. It has also been shown to prevent various forms of cancers.
However, the compound can’t be absorbed well in the body when taken orally. This is because it is metabolized too quickly.
In the study, the team used 3-D printing to build support scaffolds out of calcium phosphate.
The researchers incorporated curcumin, encapsulated in a vesicle of fat molecules into the scaffolds, allowing for the gradual release of the chemical.
They found that this drug delivery system could reduce the growth of bone cancer cells by 96% after 11 days as compared to untreated samples.
The system also promoted healthy bone cell growth.
The team says the study introduces a new era of integration and may provide a better tool for bone tissue engineering.
The team now is continuing the research and examining the benefits of integrating other natural compounds in biomedical technology.
One author of the study is Susmita Bose, Herman, and Brita Lindholm Endowed Chair Professor.
The study is published in the journal, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.
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