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Eat this spice. It might fight skin cancer.

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Eat curry. The spice in curry that makes it yellow could help fight skin cancer, Reuters reports of a new study from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric, seems to interfere with melanoma cells-at least in the laboratory. Tests showed that curcumin made melanoma skin cancer cells more likely to self-destruct. Led by Bharat Aggarwal, this same team recently found that curcumin also helps stop the spread of breast cancer tumor cells to the lungs of mice.

In this latest study, Aggarwal's team treated three batches of melanoma cells with curcumin at different doses and for varying times, reports Reuters. The results? Curcumin suppressed two proteins that tumor cells use to stay alive, inducing apoptosis or cell death. Aggarwal says more research is needed in animal models of melanoma.

Curcumin has been shown not only to kill cancer cells, but also to prevent tumors from forming. Of course, all this has only been done within the confines of a laboratory. While curcumin has not been shown to reduce cancer risk in people, Aggarwal told Reuters that people who eat lots of turmeric do have lower rates of some cancers. The study findings were reported in the journal Cancer.

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