Curcumin is a secondary herbal substance obtained from the rhizome of the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa). It is one of the main components of the Indian curry spice mixture and is approved as a yellow colorant in the European Union under E number 100.
Curcumin as a medicine
Originally from Asia, Curcuma longa it now grows in many tropical and subtropical regions. As a medicine in Ayurvedic medicine, curcumin is used primarily because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, analgesic and anticancer properties for bronchitis and asthma, allergies , liver disease, rheumatism, upper throat infections and poor wound healing in diabetes and cancer. In India, where turmeric is a traditional part of the diet, the frequency breast cancer , prostate, colon and lung is ten times smaller than that in the United States. Many experts attribute this fact to curcumin.
In the meantime, it has been proven in many cases that curcumin can inhibit almost all tumor signaling pathways, interfere with cell proliferation (cell reproduction), as well as tumor invasion, metastasis and blood vessel formation. The chemopreventive activity of curcumin could be attributed to the fact that it induces apoptosis of tumor cells via several signaling pathways (upregulation of genes for tumor suppression of p53 and initiation of mitochondrial apoptosis by increasing Bak production).
Because apoptosis is a major cause of cell death, substances such as curcumin, which can induce apoptosis / cell death, are the most promising candidates for cancer treatment. In addition, curcumin slows down the so-called NFkB (nuclear factor kappa B), which, like the main switch in the cell nucleus, triggers the entire cascade for inflammatory cytokines.
Similar to some chemotherapy drugs, curcumin prevents tumors from creating their own blood flow through vascularization. B. Bevazizumab VEGF, the vascular endothelial growth factor, which is responsible for this. Curcumin also acts as a tyrosine kinase inhibitor compared to Erlotinib and Gefitinib, which blocks epithelial growth factors (EGF) and thus prevents cancer cell division. Curcumin is incorporated into the cell membranes of cancer cells and makes them more permeable and thus more vulnerable to the immune system, for biological cancer therapies, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
In a 2006 study. published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology Hepatology, it was found that the combination of 480 mg of curcumin and 20 mg of quercetin three times a day significantly reduces the number of cells and the size of colon adenomas in familial adenopolyposis without signs of toxicity. Due to the dose level, Professor Francis M. Giardelli assumes that curcumin was the crucial substance.
Therapeutic use of curcumin
The plant itself contains only 2 – 9% curcumin. Therefore, scientific research works with their extracts. One of the problems with the supply of curcumin is poor absorption from the intestine, which can be increased by adding piperine, but does not lead to a sufficient level of activity in the blood and other tissues.
At the Center for Advanced Medicine, we work around this problem by giving patients intravenous curcumin in an aqueous solution of 150 mg in the form of an infusion, which allows us to achieve a high level of this compound in the tissue. With intravenous curcumin, we have an effective anti-cancer agent without any side effects. As part of a holistic concept for individually tailored cancer therapy, we always use curcumin together with other substances.
Curcumin increases the chemosensitivity of treated tumor cells to vincristine, melphalan, cisplatin and 5-FU and enhances paclitaxel-induced apoptosis. However, it prevents apoptosis of breast cancer cells under irinotecan and doxorubicin. In animal studies, tumor regression can also be prevented by cyclophosphamide.
Due to its syntagonistic and antagonistic effects, curcumin should be used as an adjuvant only if there is a positive interaction with the following chemotherapeutic agents:
5-FU. Bortezumib, butyrate, celecoxib, cisplatin, doxorubicin, etoposide, gemcitabine, melphalan, oxaliplatin, paclitaxel, sulfinosine, thalidomide, taxol, vincristine and vinorelbine.