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'Ginger can help cure ovarian cancer'

Try eating ginger in your daily diet if you are suffering from ovarian cancer, for researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Centre have found that it causes ovarian

india Updated: Apr 06, 2006 17:55 IST

Try eating ginger in your daily diet if you are suffering from ovarian cancer, for researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Centre have found that it causes ovarian cancer cells to die.

In laboratory studies, researchers found ginger caused ovarian cancer cells to die. Further, the way in which the cells died suggests ginger may avoid the problem common in ovarian cancer of cells becoming resistant to standard treatments.

Researchers used ginger powder, similar to the ones sold at grocery stores, only a standardized research grade.

The ginger powder was dissolved in solution and applied to ovarian cancer cell cultures. Ginger induced cell death in all the ovarian cancer cell lines tested.

Moreover, the researchers found that ginger caused two types of cell death. While one type, known as apoptosis, results from cancer cells essentially committing suicide, the other type of cell death, called autophagy, results from cells digesting or attacking themselves.

"Most ovarian cancer patients develop recurrent disease that eventually becomes resistant to standard chemotherapy – which is associated with resistance to apoptosis.

If ginger can cause autophagic cell death in addition to apoptosis, it may circumvent resistance to conventional chemotherapy," said the author of the study, J. Rebecca Liu, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the U-M Medical School and a member of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Studies show promise for ginger as a potential treatment for ovarian cancer, as it would have virtually no side effects and would be easy to administer as a capsule.

Ginger is effective at controlling inflammation, and inflammation contributes to the development of ovarian cancer cells. By halting the inflammatory reaction, the researchers suspect, ginger also stops cancer cells from growing.

"In multiple ovarian cancer cell lines, we found that ginger induced cell death at a similar or better rate than the platinum-based chemotherapy drugs typically used to treat ovarian cancer," said Jennifer Rhode, M.D., a gynecologic oncology fellow at the U-M Medical School.