Research on nanocurry featured on local CBS news
As I discussed in my first post, one of the areas of research in my laboratory involves testing the use of curcumin as an anticancer and chemopreventive agent. Curcumin is derived from turmeric, which for those of you who have eaten Indian food, know as the spice that gives curry its yellow color. Curcumin is known to be a potent anti-cancer agent, but its use in cancer (as well as in many other diseases like Alzheimer disease) has been limited because the drug does not get absorbed from the GI tract. We have developed a nanoparticle (nano = very small, about 10,000 times smaller than the size of a pin-head) that can encapsulate curcumin and help deliver it into the body. This product, which we call “nanocurcumin” (or nanocurry) is being tested in the laboratory and hopefully will be in the clinic in a couple of years, ready for human use.
I am very excited by this research for several reasons:
First, curcumin has been a component of diet for many centuries, so this is relatively safe as a “drug”.
Second, nanocurcumin is able to get hundred fold higher levels of curcumin in the blood compared to the free drug, a big advancement by any strecth.
Third, in addition to being useful as an anti-cancer agent, curcumin also works in chemoprevention. Once this drug is approved for human use, we hope to perform a trial in Barrett esophagus patients in collaboration with the clinical team at Hopkins to see if nanocurcumin can help prevent progression in this disease. This study is however, a few years away.
The local CBS affiliate in Baltimore (WJZ13) did a story on nanocurcumin. You can read the story and watch the video by clicking here:
Anirban Maitra, MD