BOKU: Curry as a remedy for cancer

BOKU-scientists discover a new way for therapy through “CurcuEmulsomen”

Using nanotechnology to package up a component commonly found in curry in a fatty nanoparticle, scientists from Institute for Synthetic Bioarchitectures at the BOKU-Department of Nanobiotechnology have ascertained a way to get it into body cells for potential medical treatment.

Curcumin is isolated from the rhizomes of the plant Curcuma longa and shows intrinsic anti cancer properties. Its medical use, however, remains limited due to its extremely low water solubility and bioavailability. Addressing this problem, the researchers examined the novel approach to beneficiate curcumin inside the solid fat core of emulsomes. The new nanoformulation, named as CurcuEmulsomes, successfully overcame the limitation in bioavailability and increased the solubility of curcumin by 10,000 fold.

CurcuEmulsomes were introduced to cancerous cells to track their effect. While a direct dose of curcumin does not readily enter cancerous cells, CurcuEmulsomes were easily absorbed by the cells. The latter did not only adhere to the cancer cells but the gradual dissolution of the solid fat core of emulsomes resulted in a slow release of curcumin over time and hence, eliminating the need for multiple treatments.

Recently, the study has garnered attention by pertinent medical news agencies as a possible cancer fighting remedy. The next step of the researchers will be the targeted delivery of CurcuEmulsomes into cancer cells, as this approach is minimizing the hazardous effects known from chemotherapy. The prospect that CurcuEmulsomes might deliver curcumin into the body is especially exciting because this approach might cause less side effects and an enhanced efficacy for a longer period of time.

Ucisik MH, Kupcu S, Schuster B, Sleytr U. “Characterization of CurcuEmulsomes: nanoformulation for enhanced solubility and delivery of curcumin.” Journal of Nanobiotechnology. 2013, 11:37 (

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