According to Medical News Today, a new study paired turmeric with the anti-nausea drug thalidomide. Together, the two products were able to create “hybrid molecules” to kill multiple myeloma cancer cells.
“Although thalidomide disturbs the microenvironment of tumor cells in bone marrow, it disintegrates in the body. Curcumin, also active against cancers, is limited by its poor water solubility. But the combination of thalidomide and curcumin in the hybrid molecules enhances both the cytotoxicity and solubility,” says the study’s author Shijun Zhang, of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the VCU School of Pharmacy.
This is good news, right? Multiple myeloma is the cancer of plasma cells. It’s relatively uncommon and has a survival rate of about 45% 5-years after diagnosis. Finding a solution for this cancer would be ideal, of course. But the new study may not be “all good”.
Anti-nausea drug thalidomide was taken off the market in 1962. It was initially approved in the 1950s, but was removed when it was found to carry the risk of “severe, life-threatening birth defects.” In the late 1990s, it was resurrected as a treatment for multiple myeloma. It still carries frightening warning labels and advisories despite its use.
On the other hand, turmeric is a completely harmless root. It’s used as a spice in eastern cuisine and has a long history of medicinal use. Check out this health benefits of turmeric article or search “turmeric” on NaturalSociety for more information.
Coincidentally, this isn’t the first study to link turmeric to effective treatment of various forms of cancer. As Anthony Gucciardi reported a few years ago, researchers from UCLA found that curcumin was able to actually block the growth of head and neck cancer cells with a simple supplement of 1,000 mg provided twice daily. In 2012, Gucciardi reported on another study linking curcumin and the slowed-growth of prostate cancer cells.
There is ample evidence that turmeric and its active component curcumin could hold the key to cancer prevention and possibly even effective treatment. But when researchers suggest it must be combined with a dangerous drug to be effective, it’s not rash to be suspicious.
When a food with radical medical potential begins to gain ground in the scientific community, it seems something always happens to bring conventional pharmaceuticals back into the circle. And with a new study from Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, it appears that’s what may be happening to turmeric.