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April 5, 2006

Ginger and pepper - anticancer therapy of the future?

Topics: Medicine

Ovarian cancer and cancer of the pancreas are among the most deadly forms of cancer that we can contract. The deaths from these forms of cancers are extremely high, and these types of cancers seem to be resistant to chemotherapy. However, new and ongoing research has brought a tiny ray of hope of possible new therapies that could be given in conjunction with the chemotherapy.

Two researchers have announced the result of their study into the effects of the spice ginger on growing ovarian cancer cells. This study is still in its earliest stage but the results are encouraging.

The study on ginger was done using cells in a lab dish, which is a long way from finding that it works in actual cancer patients, but it is the first step to testing the idea.

Dr. Rebecca Liu, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues tested ginger powder dissolved in solution by putting it on ovarian cancer cell cultures.

It killed the ovarian cancer cells in two different ways -- through a self-destruction process called apoptosis and through autophagy in which cells digest themselves, the researchers told a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"Most ovarian cancer patients develop recurrent disease that eventually becomes resistant to standard chemotherapy, which is associated with resistance to apoptosis," Liu said in a statement.

"If ginger can cause autophagic cell death in addition to apoptosis, it may circumvent resistance to conventional chemotherapy."

Posted by at April 5, 2006 2:29 AM



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