RICHMOND - Turmeric, an ingredient found in common kitchen spices, combined with anti-nausea medication thalidomide effectively kills cancer cells, researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center have discovered.
In a laboratory, preclinical study, researchers combined structural features from thalidomide with turmeric to create hybrid molecules that effectively kill multiple myeloma cells.
Thalidomide was first introduced in the 1950s as an anti-nausea medication to help control morning sickness, but was later taken off shelves because it was found to cause birth defects. In the late 1990s the drug was re-introduced as a treatment for multiple myeloma.
Turmeric, a spice grown in India and other Asian areas, has a long history of use in herbal remedies and has recently been studied as a means to prevent and treat cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, laboratory studies have shown that curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, interferes with several important molecular pathways and inhibits the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents.
Compared to mixing multiple drugs, creating hybrid molecules can provide certain advantages including enhanced potency, reduced risk of developing drug resistance, reduced cost and improved patient compliance according to researchers
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