Elucidating the Anti-Tumor Mechanisms of Naturally Derived Capsaicin
Dr. Gerald Griffin
Studies have suggested that capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat sensation when eating chili peppers, possesses anti-cancer effects. More specifically, recent in vitro results demonstrate that capsaicin extracted from organically grown Capsicum chinense (commonly known as the yellow lantern chili), prompts cell death of neuroblastoma cells. Neuroblastoma is a pediatric cancer. Conventional treatment options require the use of agents that could affect brain and reproductive tract development. To determine the mechanism of action of naturally derived capsaicin on inducing the death of this tumor, we treated neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells with naturally derived capsaicin. Next, we utilized Western blotting to determine levels of proteins that regulate apoptosis (caspase-8, caspase-9 and bcl-2) after incubating cells with capsaicin. While our research is ongoing, this work will corroborate and extend previous findings demonstrating the anti-tumor effects of capsaicin extracted from organic peppers and elucidate mechanisms for these effects. The results of this work will highlight how capsaicin may be best used for treating the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma.
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