CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Active ingredient in chillies may target cancer cells

Capsaicin, the chemical that burns the mouth when one consumes chillies and an active ingredient of some over the counter drugs, may be able to kill cancer cells with little or no harmful side-effects.

A study by UK researchers published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications suggested that capsaicin, and other similar compounds, attack the mitochondria of cancerous cells, causing them to "switch off" and die without harming surrounding tissue.

Capsaicin was tested on H460 human lung cancer cells, which is recognised as the "gold standard" for new anti-cancer drugs, and similar compounds were tested on pancreatic cancer cells. In both cases, the tumour cells died off leaving the surrounding tissue intact. This is a very exciting result because pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival rate of less than one per cent and is currently one of the most stubborn cancers to treat.

The study that led to this discovery is the first to emerge from a newly formed Nottingham UK-China Collaboration on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NUKCAM). The collaboration has members from the University of Nottingham and the Chinese National Academy of Sciences. The collaboration emphasizes shared scientific study of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

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Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), a forum for exploration of legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. The most recent published book by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary, alternative and integrative medicine and related fields is Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion. This is the fourth book in a series, following Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

Health care lawyer Michael H. Cohen has also been admitted to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing), adding to Bar membership in four U.S. states.
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