Curry-derived molecules might be too spicy for colorectal cancers

Nov 05, 2007

Curcumin, the yellowish component of turmeric that gives curry its flavor, has long been noted for its potential anti-cancer properties. Researchers from Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, report on an apparent improvement upon nature: two molecular analogues of curcumin that demonstrate even greater tumor suppressive properties. The team presented their findings from the first test of these molecules in a mouse model of colorectal cancer today at the American Association for Cancer Research Centennial Conference on Translational Cancer Medicine.

According to Tohoku University researcher Hiroyuki Shibata, M.D., curcumin is one of the most widely studied plant-based chemicals with anti-cancer properties. Research has associated curcumin with several distinct actions, including the suppression of genes that promote cell growth (for example, the destruction of the pro-cancerous protein â catenin), and induction of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in colorectal cancer.

Unfortunately, natural curcumin has what researchers term “low bioavailability” -- the molecule quickly loses its anti-cancer attributes when ingested, Shibata says. With the aim of improving the therapeutic potential of curcumin, Shibata and his colleagues synthesized and tested 90 variations of the molecule’s structure. Two, GO-Y030 and GO-Y031, proved to be more potent and bioavailable, than natural curcumin.

“Our new analogues have enhanced growth suppressive abilities against colorectal cancer cell lines, up to 30 times greater than natural curcumin,” said Shibata, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Oncology at the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer at Tohoku University. “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.”

In 2006, the researchers published basic safety and structural data for GO-Y030 and GO-Y031 in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, and they continue to study the mechanisms behind the molecules’ apparent potencies. In its natural form, the curcumin molecule is composed of two ring structures linked by a chain of seven carbon atoms. The active ring structures of GO-Y030 and GO-Y031, however, are linked by a shorter, five-carbon chain, which Shibata says might – for reasons still under investigation –account for their enhanced potency.

Like curcumin, the researchers believe the new analogues have clinical potential that extends beyond colorectal cancer. “In addition to colorectal cancer, the â catenin-degrading abilities of these molecules could apply to other forms of cancer, such as gastric cancer,” said Shibata. “Like curcumin, these analogues also down-regulate a number of gene products, such as NF-kappa B, ErbB2, K-ras, that are also implicated in breast, pancreas and lung cancers among other diseases.”

“In addition to their chemopreventative abilities, these molecules might also form the basis of a potent chemotherapy, either alone or in combination with other modes of therapy,” said Shibata.

According to Shibata, the next step for the researchers is to further examine the drug delivery mechanisms, toxicology and pharmacokinetics of these analogues, before extending the research to clinical trials. Their studies were funded by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science and the Miyagi Health Service Association.

Source: American Association for Cancer Research

Explore further: Prosocial internet support group not beneficial for breast cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Form Devices team designs Point as a house sitter

8 hours ago

A Scandinavian team "with an international outlook" and good eye for electronics, software and design aims to reach success with what they characterize as "a softer take" on home security. Their device is ...

Man pleads guilty in New York cybercrime case

11 hours ago

A California man has pleaded guilty in New York City for his role marketing malware that federal authorities say infected more than a half-million computers worldwide.

NASA issues 'remastered' view of Jupiter's moon Europa

20 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Scientists have produced a new version of what is perhaps NASA's best view of Jupiter's ice-covered moon, Europa. The mosaic of color images was obtained in the late 1990s by NASA's Galileo ...

Dish restores Turner channels to lineup

20 hours ago

Turner Broadcasting channels such as Cartoon Network and CNN are back on the Dish network after being dropped from the satellite TV provider's lineup during contract talks.

Recommended for you

Immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in brain cancers

Nov 21, 2014

New evidence that immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in glioblastoma and brain metastases was presented today by Dr Anna Sophie Berghoff at the ESMO Symposium on Immuno-Oncology 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

New model of follow up for breast cancer patients

Nov 21, 2014

Public health researchers from the University of Adelaide have evaluated international breast cancer guidelines, finding that there is potential to improve surveillance of breast cancer survivors from both a patient and health ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.