Turmeric is a yellow powder which has been used as a cooking spice and a medicine for many centuries in Asian nations due to its many health benefits. Curcumin, its active ingredient, is said to be anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, with bone-building capabilities. It prevents various forms of cancer. A research team at Washington State University (WSU) has now developed a drug delivery system using curcumin which will inhibit bone cancer cells and promote the growth of healthy bone cells.
Young patients with bone cancer have to undergo chemotherapy before and after surgery, which has many harmful side effects. They need to recover from bone damage while suppressing tumor growth with heavy medications. This new research could lead to better and gentler post-operative treatments for people with osteosarcoma, which is the second most prevalent cause of cancer death in children.
"I want people to know the beneficial effects of these natural compounds. Natural biomolecules derived from these plant-based products are inexpensive and a safer alternative to synthetic drugs,” said Susmita Bose, one of the four researchers working on the study.
“This study introduces a new era of integration—where modern 3D printing technology is coupled with the safe and effective use of alternative medicine, which may provide a better tool for bone tissue engineering," she added.
Turmeric also has many other health benefits. It contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties, which is why it has been used as a medicinal herb in India for thousands of years. The yellow spice increases the antioxidant capacity of the body, is good for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, improves brain function and lowers the risk for brain and heart diseases. It helps alleviate the symptoms of depression and can be useful in preventing and treating Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia.