Beating Immortal Breast Tumor Cells
Turmeric compounds may also help undermine the immortality of breast cancer cells. DNA strands carry our genetic material in every cell. When cells divide, one of the steps in that process is to replicate the DNA so each daughter cell receives a copy. In healthy cells, the ends of DNA strands (called telomeres) shorten with each replication. Once they reach a certain length the cell dies. (vi.226, 239)
However, in cancer cells telomeres stabilize at a certain length and cells don’t die. Instead, cancer cells produce telomerase. This enzyme adds sequences to the end of the DNA strand so they can continuously replicate and grow. Turmeric’s curcumin compounds inhibit telomerase in breast tumor cell lines. (vi.226, 239)
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