Indian pepper holds key for new cancer-fighting drug

  • The Indian long pepper, widely popular for spicing up food, may soon be used as a potential cancer treatment drug, according to a new study.
  • The Indian long pepper contains a chemical that could stop your body from producing an enzyme that is commonly found in tumours in large numbers.
  • UT Southwestern Medical Enter scientists have uncovered the chemical process behind anti-cancer properties of a spicy Indian pepper plant called the long pepper, whose suspected medicinal properties date back thousands of years.
  • The secret lies in a chemical called Piperlongumine (PL), which has shown activity against many cancers including prostate, breast, lung, colon, lymphoma, leukaemia, primary brain tumours and gastric cancer.
  • PL converts to hPL, an active drug that silences a gene called GSTP1.
  • The GSTP1 gene produces a detoxification enzyme that is often overly abundant in tumours.

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