A spice commonly used to make curries could help target and destroy chemotherapy-resistant cancer cells, say scientists in the UK.
Researchers at the University of Leicester have been using curcumin - an extract of root turmeric, commonly used to spice up curries - to target chemo-resistant cells.
The aim is to use the extract in colorectal tumour tissue.
"Following treatment for cancer, small populations of cancer cells often remain which are responsible for disease returning," the Daily Mail quoted lead researcher Dr Karen Brown, as saying.
"These cells appear to have different properties to the bulk of cells within a tumour, making them resistant to chemotherapy.
Previous laboratory research has shown that curcumin, from turmeric, has not only improved the effectiveness of chemotherapy but has also reduced the number of chemo-resistant cells, which has implications in preventing the disease returning.
We hope that our work will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms through which curcumin targets resistant cells in tumours.
It should also help us identify those patient populations who are most likely to benefit from curcumin treatment in the future," Brown added.