How a wide variety of familiar spices may help with cancer prevention and someday help with cancer treatment was the focus of Bharat B. Aggarwal’s talk at AICR research conference. Dr. Aggarwal, PhD, a researcher at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, spoke about how studies have shown many spices decrease the activity of a compound called NF-kappa B (NF-kB).
All the different types of cancer cells have NF-kB. It seems to lead to chronic inflammation, eventually leading to cancer development, said Dr. Aggarwal. Turmeric, fennel, red chili, cloves, and ginger are just a few of the spices Dr. Aggarwal and his colleagues have found reduce the development of cancer in animal studies. The natural compounds in spices turn down the function of the many genes related to chronic inflammation, as opposed to targeting a single gene.
Some promising research Dr. Aggarwal and others are studying come from curcumin, which you can read about here. There are currently tens of ongoing clinical trials – studies conducted on cancer patients – that will help researchers understand the effects of different spices.
Dr. Aggarwal also has a new book on the subject: Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Uses of Spices: Modern Uses for Ancient Medicine.