Cinnamon Component Prevents Colorectal Cancer In Mice

Cinnamon Component Prevents Colorectal Cancer In Mice

A research project conducted at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy and the UA Cancer Center suggests that a substance present in cinnamon can act as a potent inhibitor of colorectal cancer.

Drs. Georg Wondrak and Donna Zhang have recently completed a study which revealed that adding cinnamaldehyde (the substance responsible the flavour and smell of cinnamon) to the diets of mice can actually protect the animals against colorectal cancer development. As a response to the substance, their cells seemed to acquire a protection against a carcinogen through repair and detoxification. The study titled “Nrf2-dependent suppression of azoxymethane/dextrane sulfate sodium-induced colon carcinogenesis by the cinnamon-derived dietary factor cinnamaldehyde” was published in Cancer Prevention Research.

“This is a significant finding because colorectal cancer is aggressive and associated with poor prognoses, there is an urgent need to develop more effective strategies against this disease,” noted Dr. Zhang.

Dr. Wondrak added: “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.”

However, Dr. Wondrak explained there are still questions to solve: “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.”

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Isaura Santos graduated with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and a MA in Communication, Culture and Information Technologies from University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL). Her professional interests include science communication, public awareness of science and communication of science through entertainment.

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