Context: Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras have shown that the active compound from the common household spice turmeric - curcumin - can enhance cancer cell death.

More on the news:

  • Researchers have found that treating leukaemia cells that cause cancer of the blood and bone marrow with curcumin, enhances cell death.
  • The research is published in Pharmacological Reports, a peer-reviewed journal. 

TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL):

  • It is an agent with the ability to programme cell death (apoptosis) and has triggered many preclinical studies the world over. 
  • While the anti-tumour activity of TRAIL in preclinical studies had been strong, in clinical trials, the results were so far unsatisfactory as cancer cells, when exposed long-term, seem to acquire resistance against TRAIL. 
  • The next round of research has been to find chemicals that can reverse resistance and increase sensitivity of cancer cells to TRAIL.