Curry spice found to fight cancer

July 12, 2005

Turmeric, a spice that is a key ingredient in Indian curry dishes, contains a potent cancer-fighting agent, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

A study published in the upcoming issue of Cancer magazine related that curcumin, a chemical pigment in turmeric, helped stop the spread of breast cancer tumor cells to the lungs of mice.

Now doctors have launched clinical tests to see if it works on humans, said Bharat Aggarwal of the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, who led the study.

Earlier studies suggest that people who eat diets rich in turmeric have lower rates of breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer, Aggarwal said.

He noted that many cancers are 10 times rarer on the Indian subcontinent than in the West.

The breakthrough came as no surprise to the owner of an Indian restaurant in downtown Manhattan. Abu Syed told the Daily News: "We already knew that Indian food tastes good. But it is good to hear it can help with cancer, too. It is one more reason to eat plenty of it."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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