UA researchers: Cinnamon may be key to prevent cancer
Georg Wondrak and Donna Zhang found that a compound derived from cinnamon protected mice from colorectal cancer/ UA College of Pharmacy
TUCSON - A new study conducted by the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy and the UA Cancer Center found that a compound derived from cinnamon protected mice from colorectal cancer.
The research completed by College of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology's Georg Wondrak and Donna Zhang proved that cinnamaldehyde, the compound that gives cinnamon its distinctive flavor and smell, was a potent inhibitor of colorectal cancer, after the mice's cells gained the ability to protect themselves against exposure to a carcinogen through detoxification and repair when cinnamaldehyde was added to their diet.
"This is a significant finding," said Zhang, a member of the UA Cancer Center and the BIO5 Institute. "Because colorectal cancer is aggressive and associated with poor prognoses, there is an urgent need to develop more effective strategies against this disease."
The UA researchers will test if cinnamon itself can prevent cancer using the same cancer model used in their study. They believe that if they find that cinnamon has a similar result as cinnamaldehyde, a study in humans may not be too far off, according to the UA College of Pharmacy.
"Given cinnamon's important status as the third most consumed spice in the world, there's relatively little research on its potential health benefits. If we can ascertain the positive effects of cinnamon, we would like to leverage this opportunity to potentially improve the health of people around the globe," Wondrak, member of the Cancer Center. “Can cinnamon do it, now that we know pure cinnamaldehyde can? And can we use cinnamaldehyde or cinnamon as a weapon to go after other major diseases, such as inflammatory dysregulation and diabetes? These are big questions to which we might be able to provide encouraging answers using a very common spice."
Their study titled Nrf2-Dependent Suppression of Azoxymethane/Dextrane Sulfate Sodium-Induced Colon Carcinogenesis by the Cinnamon-Derived Dietary Factor Cinnamaldehyde was published by Cancer Prevention Research. To view the complete study, visit ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.