January 2004

Happy New Year!

We hope you all had a great 2004!

October 2002

Eating This Spice May Save Your Life

Hungry? Make some curry. A compound that is found in the curry spice turmeric could actually prevent cancer and stop tumors from growing, according to new research from a Japanese university. And that's not all. A completely different study from an American university has determined that turmeric may help protect the skin of cancer patients who are undergoing radiation therapy.

Reuters reports that researchers from Kumamoto University in Kumamoto, Japan determined that curcumin inhibited the production of interleukin-8 (IL-8), a protein that attracts white blood cells to a particular site and leads to inflammation. The compound also reduced the activity of nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-kappaB), a molecule that helps regulate the gene that produces IL-8.

What does that mean? Tumor cells secrete high levels of IL-8, which is a protein that causes inflammation. The exact role IL-8 plays in cancer growth is still unclear, but previous research shows it may stimulate tumor cells to produce at the same time it suppresses the immune system. But the compound in turmeric--curcumin--curbs IL-8. Curcumin is what gives turmeric, a commonly used Eastern spice, its yellow color. If the spice actually does what the study findings suggest, then "curcumin is capable of working as a potent agent that reduces tumor promotion," the researchers conclude.

The Japanese research was published in the journal Cancer and is not the first scientific study to link curcumin with good health. Reuters notes that previous studies suggest it might help heal wounds and fight Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.

In another study, researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York found that curcumin also helped protect the skin of cancer patients who were undergoing radiation therapy. A common and painful side effect of radiation is burns and blisters. Mice who were given three different doses of curcumin for five to seven days a week along with a dose of radiation had minimal skin damage caused by the radiation. In addition, curcumin was found to suppress the development of new cells in tumors, which furthers the effectiveness of radiation therapy, reports Health Newswire.

Think about it! Turmeric is a non-toxic, natural substance that could prevent you from getting cancer.

--Cathryn Conroy

January 2002

Green tea kills cancer cells, researchers discover

Various plant compounds in green tea not only kill oral cancer cells but also prevent their growth, according to the authors of a study to be published in the journal General Dentistry.

The results of research at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta showed compounds in green tea selectively induced cell death only in oral cancer cells while ignoring normal cells.

The authors of the study conclude the tea could inhibit, delay or even reverse cancer.

"Green tea appears to be chemopreventative, both before the onset of malignancy and following cancer treatment," states the study, Chemoprevention of Oral Cancer by Green Tea, an advance copy of which was obtained by The Vancouver Sun.

The study will be published in the March/April issue of the journal, which is published by the Academy of General Dentistry.

Although the research must be duplicated before green tea is labeled as a public health strategy and a bona fide anti-cancer agent, lead study author/cell biologist Stephen Hsu said: "The evidence of benefits appear to be sound, but we need a lot of different groups to agree on this and there is research going on in various places that will help answer that," he said, referring to a human trial at the University of Texas M.C. Anderson Cancer Centre involving green tea and oral cancer.

Hsu, whose research was funded by his academic institution, not the tea industry, said while further trials are being conducted, there is no reason why people shouldn't indulge in green tea.

"There are a lot of different brands, but that doesn't appear to make a difference. What does matter is that people choose a high quality tea that is without additives and has not been processed, because the fermentation process reduces the concentration of polyphenols and their beneficial effects."

In North America, only 20 percent of tea drinkers prefer green leaves over black. People who don't favour green tea often fault it for its grassy taste. For those people, swishing it around their mouths several times a day will reap the same benefits, Hsu contends.

Those who do enjoy green tea should drink four to six cups a day to get the maximum benefit. Green tea comes in both caffeinated and decaffeinated forms.

In China, oral cancer rates are half that of North America, even though smoking rates-a known risk factor for oral cancer-are three times higher in China.

At the B.C. Cancer Agency, Dr. Peter Stevenson-Moore said he's intrigued by the research.

"If it's true, it's exciting."

Dr. Eric Shapira, a spokesman for the dentistry academy, which is based in Chicago, said oral cancer cells multiply rapidly because "the mouth's oxygen-rich environment connects to many blood vessels that provide a perfect habitat to house cancer cells."

About 4,000 cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in Canada this year, 420 of them in B.C.

Source: The Vancouver Sun, January 10, 2002

December 2001

We have just added new gift packs for the holiday season. Please have a look!