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The principal objective on the cancer front is designing a drug that kills the tumor, without any apparent side-effects. While this is a huge challenge for professionals, the team at Cancer Research UK is studying the role of curry spice in warding off bowel cancer.

Curry spice is showing promise in increasing the reactivity of cancer drugs to chemotherapy, which should mean better treatment. Moreover, if it indeed is helpful, such curry compounds could be provided to patients in lower doses that may automatically lead to fewer side effects.

Chief investigator Professor William Steward, ECMC director at the University of Leicester, elaborated, “Once bowel cancer has spread it is very difficult to treat, partly because the side effects of chemotherapy can limit how long patients can have treatment. The prospect that curcumin might increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy is exciting because it could mean giving lower doses, so patients have fewer side effects and can keep having treatment for longer.”

The trial that is scheduled to take place at the Leicester General Hospital will incorporate patients of bowel cancer that has reached the liver. About 3 quarters of the participants will receive curcumin pills for 7 days, after which the standard therapy with FOLFOX will follow. The other subjects will receive just the latter to primarily compare the combination and standard modes of treatment for patients.

This trial will gauge if curry compounds could improve responses to chemotherapy drugs in case of advanced bowel cancer.