'Haldi' to the rescue! IIT Madras researchers show potential of turmeric in treating cancer

Treating leukaemia cells with curcumin results in cancer cells dying more.

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While there is no confirmatory evidence yet, such research could lead to safer and more effective therapies for cancer in the future.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras have shown that curcumin, the active compound from turmeric curcumin can enhance cancer cell death.

Finding agents that can trigger apoptosis, or programmed cell death, has been of interest to cancer researchers. One such agent that has been found promising is a protein called ‘TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand’ (TRAIL). Its ability to selectively kill cancer cells by ‘apoptosis’ has resulted in a number of preclinical studies being carried out all over the world.

The researchers said their findings clearly show that even small concentrations of curcumin could potentially enhance the sensitiveness of leukemic cells to TRAIL.


While treating cancer, it’s important not to damage the healthy cells in the body. ‘Apoptosis’, or programmed cell death, is generally preferred over the more aggressive and premature ‘necrosis’ for killing cancer cells because it releases fewer cellular components that trigger inflammation than the latter.

Rama Shanker Verma from the Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, department of Biotechnology, IIT Madras led the research. The results of this work were recently published in journal Pharmacological Reports. The paper was co-authored by Sridevi Surapally, Madhumathi Jayaprakasam and Verma.

Said Verma,“Despite strong anti-tumor activity of TRAIL in pre-clinical studies, clinical trials results have hitherto been unsatisfactory because cancer cells seem to acquire resistance against TRAIL upon long-term exposure. Thus, the next round of research has been to find chemicals that can reverse resistance and increase sensitivity of cancer cells to TRAIL.”
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Several studies have focused on natural compounds that could significantly enhance TRAIL-mediated apoptosis at non-toxic concentrations. The IIT Madras team chose curcumin, the yellow part of the common turmeric that is used in daily cooking, as a sensitizer of TRAIL-resistant cancer cells to apoptosis.

While treating cancer, it’s important not to damage the healthy cells in the body.
While treating cancer, it’s important not to damage the healthy cells in the body.

Curcumin is already known to be a potent anti-cancer agent because of its ability to inhibit carcinogenesis and induce apoptosis in various cancer cells. Its function as a sensitizer to TRAIL has been shown in cases of prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and malignant glioma.

The IIT Madras research team showed that treating leukaemia (blood/bone-marrow cancer) cells with curcumin sensitises the cells to TRAIL and results in more efficient cell death. They performed studies using isolated leukaemia cells from cancer patients and found that non-toxic concentrations of curcumin can significantly increase the efficiency of TRAIL-induced cell death.

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The IIT Madras Researchers are, however, cautious in extrapolating the results. While the reactions have been carried out in vitro, i.e., with isolated cells outside the human body, ‘in a test tube’, it is unclear if the same results can be obtained in vivo, i.e., inside the body. This doubt arises because curcumin is known to be poorly absorbed into the blood from the gut and its bioavailability for therapeutic purposes is generally poor.

However, the researchers are hopeful that this difficulty will be circumvented soon. There are many studies ongoing around the world to increase the bioavailability of curcumin.

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“Compounds such as quercetin found in onions, green tea etc., and piperazine, found in black and green pepper, have been shown by a few researchers to enhance absorption of curcumin by the body,” added Verma.

While there is no confirmatory evidence yet, such research could lead to safer and more effective therapies for cancer in the future.

The Weekend That Was: Bachchans, Anupam Kher Family Under Covid Cloud; All’s Well, Says Hema, And Riddhima (About Ranbir)
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On Saturday night, just when the country was about to go to sleep, the news of the country's biggest superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, testing positive for coronavirus broke, sending shockwaves around the nation. In the hours that followed, more members of the Bachchan family tested positive for Covid-19 and Anupam Kher’s family, too, was hit by the corona-crisis.

On Sunday morning, the country woke up to rumours of Hema Malini and the Kapoor family testing positive for Covid-19. Here’s a detailed rundown of what transpired over the weekend - who tested positive and who didn’t.

On Saturday night, just when the country was about to go to sleep, the news of the country's biggest superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, testing positive for coronavirus broke, sending shockwaves around the..
Read More

Senior Bachchan is known to have dealt with health complications before and even fought a close battle with death after a life-threatening accident on the sets of his film ‘Coolie’ in 1982. However, when the news about the thespian testing positive for deadly Covid-19 broke, the entire country collectively prayed for his health and speedy recovery.

The who’s who of B-Town, sports fraternity and India Inc sent best wishes for the actor. The Big B, on Sunday night, took to social media to thank all those who prayed for his good health. “To them that have expressed their concern, their prayers and their wishes for Abhishek, Aishwarya, Aaradhya and me .. my unending gratitude and love,” wrote the megastar.

Senior Bachchan is known to have dealt with health complications before and even fought a close battle with death after a life-threatening accident on the sets of his film ‘Coolie’ in 1982. However, ..
Read More

Only an hour after the news of Senior Bachchan testing positive broke, Abhishek Bachchan sent out a tweet from his Twitter account confirming that he, too, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In his tweet, Abhishek wrote that the local civic authorities have been informed and that their family and staff are also being tested for Covid-19.

Asking everyone to stay calm and not panic, Abhishek wrote, “The BMC has been in touch and we are complying with them.” Last week, Abhishek had been busy with the promotions of his upcoming Amazon Prime original ‘Breathe: Into The Shadows’. Abhishek’s co-star from the webseries, Amit Sadh, had tested negative for Covid-19.



Only an hour after the news of Senior Bachchan testing positive broke, Abhishek Bachchan sent out a tweet from his Twitter account confirming that he, too, has tested positive for the novel coronavir..
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On Sunday, a day after the Big B and Abhishek tested positive, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter Aaradhya, also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope took to Twitter to break the news which was confirmed by Abhishek via a tweet.

“Aishwarya and Aaradhya have also tested COVID-19 positive,” wrote Abhishek in his tweet. The rest of the family, including Jaya Bachchan and Shweta Bachchan Nanda had tested negative. Abhishek announced on Twitter that both Aishwarya and Aaradhya will be self-quarantining at home.

On Sunday, a day after the Big B and Abhishek tested positive, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter Aaradhya, also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Top..
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A day after the Bachchans revealed they were corona-positive, actor Anupam Kher confirmed on Sunday that his mother, Dulari, along with brother Raju and his wife have also tested positive for Covid-19.

While Kher's mother is admitted to Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai, his brother's family is quarantining at their home.

Sharing a two-minute-20-second-long video on Twitter, the 65-year-old actor said his mother wasn't able to eat well for the past few days.

"I've informed the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) they're working amazingly, efficiently. They will sanitise my brother's residence," Kher said in a tweet.

A day after the Bachchans revealed they were corona-positive, actor Anupam Kher confirmed on Sunday that his mother, Dulari, along with brother Raju and his wife have also tested positive for Covid-1..
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On Sunday, The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sealed actor Rekha's bungalow in suburban Bandra after a security guard there tested coronavirus positive.The BMC has put a board outside the premises declaring the place as a containment area.

The security guard has been hospitalised at the BMC's Covid-19 care facility in Bandra Kurla Complex.

On Sunday, The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sealed actor Rekha's bungalow in suburban Bandra after a security guard there tested coronavirus positive.The BMC has put a board outside the p..
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On Sunday, social media was abuzz with rumours that Hema Malini had been rushed to the hospital due to poor health.

However, daughter Esha Deol was quick to quash the rumours on social media. "My mother @dreamgirlhema is fit & fine! The news regarding her health is absolutely fake so please don't react to such rumours!" she tweeted.

"Thanks to everyone for their love and concern," the actor-author added.

On Sunday, social media was abuzz with rumours that Hema Malini had been rushed to the hospital due to poor health.However, daughter Esha Deol was quick to quash the rumours on social media. "My moth..
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On Sunday, rumour mills seemed to be working overtime. Besides Hema Malini, there were also rumours that Ranbir Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor had also tested positive for Covid-19.

Jewellery designer Riddhima Kapoor Sahni took to Instagram on Sunday to confirm that her mother and brother were completely fit. She further slammed the 'attention seekers' and 'lunatics' for spreading fake news.

Riddhima later dismissed the reports, and told news agency PTI, "Obviously not (true). Please stop spreading fake rumours. At least not at this time, would appreciate."

On Sunday, rumour mills seemed to be working overtime. Besides Hema Malini, there were also rumours that Ranbir Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor had also tested positive for Covid-19. Jewellery designer Riddh..
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