Chilli Pepper Compound, Capsaicin, May Be The Answer To Cancer Treatment

Scientists are continuously looking for ways to treat cancer, and a recent study shows the answer may be found in chilli peppers.  The research shows that capsaicin, a chilli pepper component, causes cancer cells to self-destruct.

Chilli Peppers Switch On Special Defences In Cells

Researchers from Ruhr-University in Bochum, Germany said that chillies can switch on special defences in cells surrounding cancerous growth and kill them off.  The cell receptors triggered by chilli pepper compound, capsaicin, is called TRPV1, and it controls substances the cancerous growth can feed on, Daily Mail reported.

The researchers were motivated about studies suggesting that capsaicin can kill cancer cells and inhibit the growth in several cancer types.  Previous studies suggest that transient receptor potential (TRP) channels influence cancer cell growth.  They then investigated the expression of TRP channels in a vast amount of breast cancer tissue and also analyze how TRPV1 could be used in breast cancer therapy.

The scientists added capsaicin and helional - a chemical compound that produces the scent of fresh sea breeze - to cultured tumor cell samples from breast cancer patients.  After the activation, the cancer cells slowly died but tumor cells died in larger numbers, making the remaining ones weak and unable to move as quickly as before, suggesting that the ability to metastasize was reduced. 

"Capsaicin is capable of inducing cell death and inhibiting cancer cell growth in many different types of cancer, for example, osteosarcoma, colon, and pancreatic cancer cells, while normal cells remained unharmed," Dr Lea Weber, lead author of the study, said.  

Capsaicin Stimulation Could Be The Most Interesting Cancer Breakthrough Yet

According to Metro, breast, colon, bone and pancreatic cancers can benefit from this development.  Scientists note, however, that it is not effective when eaten.  They say that capsaicin is most effective when taken in pill form and attached to another drug that targets cancer cells.

The researchers say that in their experiment, "a significant reduction in cell proliferation after capsaicin stimulation was observed."  Resuls of this study was published in the journal Breast Cancer - Targets and Therapy.

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