A new study on the mechanism of BCM-95 in pancreatic cancer, published in the July 2017 issue of Carcinogenesis, revealed curcumin’s complementary role in overcoming chemotherapy resistance.
“One of the challenges with pancreatic cancer is that not only is it a lethal disease, most patients who are treated with chemotherapy often quickly develop resistance to such treatments,” said Ajay Goel, Ph.D., researcher at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. “Such chemo-resistance is frequently due to the cancer stem cells that are spared by chemotherapy, as once the chemo is stopped; these cancer stem cells grow and multiply faster to form recurrent cancer.”
The mouse model study, which was conducted in both normal and chemo-resistant pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cell cultures, tested the extract’s ability to inhibit self-renewal and differentiation, which is also known as “stemness.”
Researchers found, at the end of the study, the turmeric extract was able to prevent signs of chemotherapy-induced stemness and minimized genes that drove this process. The turmeric extract was also able to re-sensitize pancreatic cancer cells to be able to use Gemcitabine — a commonly prescribed chemotherapy regimen that is often resisted — which in turn reduced tumor size.
Goel added, “Finding safe, natural and effective compounds that can target cancer stem cells and help overcome chemo-resistance is very important, and this was demonstrated in this study. We provided multiple layers of evidence demonstrating how curcumin affects pancreatic cancer, and showed that cells that have become resistant to the standard of care chemotherapy, such as Gemcitabine, significantly respond to anti-cancer and anti-stem cell properties of a high-absorption curcumin preparation.”
Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 9/18/2017. Edited on 9/22/17