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Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers
Clinical tests are currently aiming to evaluate the effectiveness of a capsule that stimulates the body's intake of curcumin in treating certain diseases.
The study, which appears in the American Cancer Society's bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, notes that curcumin, an ingredient in yellow curry and the spice turmeric, is known to act as a powerful antioxidant. Because of this property, researchers are performing testing to detect whether the spice can be safely used to treat diseases like colon cancer, psoriasis and Alzheimer's disease.
One obstacle to treatments, however, is that digestive juices in the gastrointestinal tract quickly destroy curcumin so that very little is absorbed by the bloodstream.
In the past, scientists have encapsulated drugs like insulin into small structures called liposomes, which can improve absorption of the chemicals. Researchers Koji Wada and colleagues are testing whether samples of curcumin, when encapsulated in liposomes, are more effectively immersed into the bloodstreams of laboratory rats.
In initial reports, the researchers found that the capsules more than quadrupled absorption of the substance and boosted antioxidant levels in the blood.
The National Cancer Society reports that antioxidants, which are substances that protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules, may have a role in the slowing or prevention of cancer.
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