Natural plant compounds found in the spices turmeric and black pepper interfere with the growth of breast cancer stem cells. Researchers applied a solution containing both curcumin and piperine to breast cancer stem cells. The concentration of the solution was 20 times that found in the human diet. The researchers found the solution inhibited the proliferation of both estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer stem cells.
Cancer stem cells are the cells in a tumour that allow it to reproduce without limit. Current cancer treatments are unable to affect stem cells and this is one of the reasons why breast cancers spread and recur.
‘If we limit the number of stem cells, we can limit the number of cells with the potential to form a tumour’ lead researcher Dr. Kakarala said.
(Kakarala M, Brenner DE et al, Targeting breast cancer stem cells with the cancer preventive compounds curcumin and piperine. Breast Cancer Research & Treatment November 2009)
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