New research suggests that curcumin, a component of the Indian spice turmeric, may help maintain the effectiveness of a drug used to treat cancers of the head and neck. Although such cancers usually respond to cisplatin at first, they often develop resistance. Research in tissue cultures found that a compound derived from curcumin can reduce or overcome that resistance. The compound is called FLLL32, and it is not yet available for clinical use. The compound affects a protein called STAT3 that is overactive in many of these cancers. The researchers hope to develop a form of FLLL32 that can be taken by cancer patients.
[Archives of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, May, 2011]