Iranian researchers from Tarbiat Modarres University produced a new drug capable of detecting and removing cancer cells using turmeric.
The compound is made of curcumin found in the extract of turmeric, and has desirable physical and chemical stability and prevents the proliferation of cancer cells.
In this drug, curcumin with high efficiency (approximately 87%) was loaded in the polymeric nanocarrier, and it created a spherical structure with the size of 140 nm. The drug has high physical and chemical stability. The drug was used successfully in laboratory conditions in the treatment of a type of aggressive tumor in the central nervous system, called glioblastoma (GBM).
The interesting point is that the fatal effect of nanocurcumin on mature stem cells derived from marrow and natural cells of skin fibroblast is observed at a concentration higher than a concentration that is effective on cancer cells. In other words, no fatal effect on natural cells is observed at concentrations that are fatal to cancer cells. It shows that curcumin prefers to enter cancer cells.
The size range of the nanocarrier used in this research is 15-100 nm. Physical and chemical stability, non-toxicity, and biodegradability are among the main characteristics of the nanocarriers. Based on the results, the nanocarrier used in this research has no toxic effect on cells. In other words, all the death in the cells is caused by curcumin, and dendrosome only results in bioavailability and transference of the drug into the cells.
“The drug has the potential to affect a number of message delivery paths in the cells, one of which is cell proliferation path. Therefore, the drug prefers to enter cancer cells rather than various types of natural cells,” the researchers said.
Results of the research have been published in International Journal of Nanomedicine, vol. 9, issue 1, January 2014, pp.