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Spice Continues to Show Promise As Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma is a fatal form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. In most cases the exposure takes place decades before the illness begins to manifest symptoms, and by the time that these symptoms appear the disease is progressed to such an extensive degree that treatment is extremely challenging. Over the last few decades scientific researchers have worked hard to find methods of slowing the disease’s spread and extending the survival rate of diagnosed patients, and there have been repeated studies targeting the impact of the spice turmeric. Now another study has shown that the spice’s primary component, curcumin, is a potent anti-inflammatory antiphenol that can slow the disease’s progression.

Researchers from Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ohio and the Georg-Speyer-Haus Institute for Biomedical Research in Germany have collaborated in studying STAT3, a protein that has been shown to trigger the growth of a number of different cancers, as well as on a neutralizer called PIAS3. Their research showed that when people had low levels of PIAS3 and high levels of STAT3, they had a higher risk of dying from mesothelioma, but that when they administered curcumin and peptites extracted from PIAS3 to mesothelioma cells, the cells died.

According to Afshin Dowlati, MD, Professor of Medicine and a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, “Our finding suggest that PIAS3 expression positively affects survival in mesothelioma patients and that PIAS3 activation could become a therapeutic strategy. Our interest for the future is that we want to find better, more simple ways to increase intracellular levels of PIAS3 for malignant mesothelioma through the use of synthetic PIAS3 peptide or curcumin analogs.”

Though the outcome of this research may make those who are struggling with the disease to start spicing their foods with turmeric, Dr. Dowlati says that this approach will not work, as people do not absorb the protein when they eat the spice. That is why analogs are needed for the treatment to work. He also said that researchers were encouraged by the results of a study done by Turkish researchers earlier this year who utilized the analog and a transplant drug to treat mesothelioma, and who found that the combination provided protection against chemotherapy for healthy cells.

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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