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I always like growing cayenne chillies. Gives me even more incentive now. Could spicy food offer hope in tackling cancer? Tests show compound that gives chili peppers their kick can slow down the progression of lung cancer Researchers based at Marshall University examined the effects of capsaicin They discovered the compound stopped the first step of cancer metastasis Only one in ten patients is still alive five years after their lung cancer diagnosis This is because the illness has often spread elsewhere - known as metastasis They're known for being spicy and giving your meal a little kick. But now scientists say chili peppers may have more use than just adding some fire to a curry - and could even tackle cancer. Tests have suggested capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, may the disease from spreading Researchers at Marshall University, West Virginia, examined the effects of capsaicin on three types of cancer cell in the laboratory. The team of scientists discovered the compound stopped the first step of cancer spreading, known as metastasis. And tests on mice battling metastatic cancer found those who consumed capsaicin had smaller areas of aggressive cancer cells in their lung. Further trials showed capsaicin suppressed lung cancer metastasis by blocking a protein that plays a role in cell growth, called Src. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Investigative Pathology in Orlando, Florida. Jamie Friedman, a PhD candidate who led the study, said: 'Lung cancer and other cancers commonly metastasize to secondary locations like the brain, liver or bone, making them difficult to treat. 'Our study suggests that the natural compound capsaicin from chili peppers could represent a novel therapy to combat metastasis in lung cancer patients.' Mr Friedman added: 'We hope that one day capsaicin can be used in combination with other chemotherapeutics to treat a variety of lung cancers. WHAT IS LUNG CANCER? Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer. There are 46,400 cases of lung cancer in Britain each year and 35,500 deaths, making it the biggest cancer killer. In the US, around 230,000 new diagnoses are made each year, while the disease kills around 140,000 people. Most patients who get lung cancer, which is often symptomless in its earliest stages, are smokers or former smokers. There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer, but many people with the condition will eventually develop symptoms. Only one in ten patients is still alive five years after their diagnosis because the illness has often spread elsewhere, figures suggest. Source: NHS Choices 'However, using capsaicin clinically will require overcoming its unpleasant side effects, which include gastrointestinal irritation, stomach cramps and a burning sensation.' There are 46,400 cases of lung cancer in Britain each year and 35,500 deaths, making it the biggest cancer killer. In the US, around 230,000 new diagnoses are made each year, while the disease kills around 140,000 people. Most patients who get lung cancer, which is often symptomless in its earliest stages, are smokers or former smokers. Only one in ten patients is still alive five years after their diagnosis because the illness has often spread elsewhere, figures suggest. It is not the first time researchers have found capsaicin – a form of vanilloid – has cancer-fighting properties. Scientists say it triggers a cell receptor called TRPV1 which controls which substances the cancerous growth can feed on. As it fights to battle this, the growth eventually self-destructs. As more and more cancer cells die, the tumour is stopped from growing larger. Other experiments have found the family of compounds capsaicin belongs to can kill cancer cells by attacking their powerhouse, the mitochondria. But experts have repeatedly warned that it is unlikely just eating lots of spice alone could help to combat any form of cancer. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6898633/Spicy-food-offer-hope-tackling-cancer.html