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Australians Look To Spice As Mesothelioma Treatment

When it comes to medical science, many Americans tend to wear blinders regarding the contributions made by researchers in other countries. But mesothelioma research is ongoing around the world, and especially in the United Kingdom and Australia, which have the dubious distinction of leading the world in the incidence of having the disease. Australian researchers are constantly searching for new information, treatments and cures, and collaborate with their international colleagues in an attempt to find the answer to the challenges that mesothelioma presents. Now a group from Flinders Medical Centre in South Australia have investigated the powers of a popular spice, and have found that for some mesothelioma patients it may prove a useful and potent treatment option.

The group investigated curcumin, an element found in the spice turmeric, to see whether it could be used to diminish the symptoms or the spread of the aggressive form of cancer. Curcumin has been named in previous studies conducted on animals, and this test was run to determine its effect on human mesothelioma cells. The substance has been investigated in the past and researchers have determined that its anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties might prove helpful against the spread of mesothelioma cells. According to Associate Professor Sonja Klebe of the Department of Anatomical Pathology, “Importantly, this breakthrough allows us to predict if a certain patient is likely to benefit from therapy.”

What the group found was that curcumin may be useful in stopping new blood vessels from growing. This is particularly helpful for those patients who are too week or whose tumors have spread so extensively that surgery no longer presents a good option. Interestingly, during the course of their research the group also determined that when mesothelioma cells grow, they do so in the shape of three dimensional tubes. Klee says, “This may explain the poor results of trials with the standard drugs, because they do not target this type of blood vessel formation.”

As a result of the study, the Australian group believe that curcumin may prove extremely helpful in stopping the spread and growth of mesothelioma tumors. “Curcumin, which can be taken orally in tablet form, has virtually no side effects, and could be used alone in patients too unwell to tolerate other therapies, or in conjunction with other drugs. It may improve treatment response and allow reduction of standard drugs, improving quality of life.”

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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