When nanoparticles and turmeric combine to kill cancer cells

Turmeric is a miracle spice often used in cooking, but today it stands out for a different thing by destroying neuroblastoma tumor cells that are resistant to other drugs. Every year in France, 130 to 150 cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed.

This cancer related to the sympathetic nervous system that usually takes root near the kidneys mainly affects children. 50% of them are under two years old. This tumor is characterized in particular by extreme clinical and evolutionary variability: some regress spontaneously without treatment where others evolve rapidly to an often fatal form. Turmeric, and more specifically curcumin, is today a serious alternative to heavy treatments such as chemotherapy. The use of curcumin to fight against cancer is not a new idea. On the other hand, it is difficult to make a drug because of its low solubility and low stability. That’s when nanoparticles come into play.

A team of researchers who published their work in the journal Nanoscale recently found that cerium oxide nanoparticles loaded with curcumin and coated with dextran caused “substantial” cell death in neuroblastoma cells while having little impact on healthy cells, in short, the perfect combination for a cancer drug. Even better, the nanoparticles were more effective against the type of cells usually the most resistant to conventional drugs (those with an amplification of the MYCN gene).

“Neuroblastoma can withstand traditional therapy and survival is not assured,” says Tamarah Westmoreland, pediatric surgeon at Nemours Children’s Health System and lead author of the study. “This research proposes a new method of treating this tumor without the toxicity of aggressive treatment that may also have late effects on the patient’s health. Unique tumor cell approaches targeted with nanoparticle delivery systems are promising for the treatment of resistant tumors. We hope that, in the future, nanoparticles can be used to personalize patient care and reduce the late effects of therapy. “

In other words, curcumin is a miracle cure for cancer. Delivered directly on site thanks to nanoparticles, it would then kill cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. “More research is needed, but we hope they can soon lead to more effective treatment of this devastating disease.”

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