"In our studies, we decided to look at two particular cancers ovarian and pancreatic with low survival rates, to ascertain the contribution of diet and nutrition to the development of these cancers. We discovered that red chili pepper and broccoli appear to be effective inhibitors of the cancer process," said Sanjay K. Srivastava, Ph.D., lead investigator and assistant professor, department of pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "The contribution of diet and nutrition to cancer risk, prevention and treatment has been a major focus of research in recent years because certain nutrients in vegetables and dietary agents appear to protect the body against diseases such as cancer."
The first study, abstract number 2469, looked at the chemotherapeutic potential of capsaicin, the "hot" ingredient in red chili pepper that is often associated with antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activities, and found that it exhibited anticancer activity against pancreatic cancer cells. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive cancers with an extremely poor prognosis. Dr. Srivastava and colleagues treated human pancreatic cells with capsaicin and found that it disrupted the mitochondrial function resulting in the release of cytochrome c, which induced apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in the cancerous cells without affecting normal pancreatic cells.
"Our results demonstrate that capsaicin is a potent anticancer a