Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that a diet high in vegetables and fruits is associated with reduced risk of most cancers [1,2]. Since ancient times, herbs and spices have been used for the treatment of various illnesses. They have been used to treat respiratory, gastrointestinal, rheumatic and inflammatory disorders. The beneficial effects of dietary phytochemicals such as curcumin (from turmeric), allicin (from garlic), and resveratrol (from grapes and peanuts) against inflammation and cancer only reinforce the importance of diet in controlling such chronic illnesses . Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is a spice, which is widely used in Asia and in the Middle East and has been used in traditional medicine to treat diarrhea, flatulence, and indigestion. An important use of cumin in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine is to control inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis . In this context, it is noteworthy that cumin extracts inhibit platelet aggregation by inhibiting the eicosanoid pathway of inflammatory mediator generation . In an attempt to understand the spice’s biological properties, cumin was also shown to reverse chemically induced colon carcinogenesis in experimental animals [6,7]. The observed anti-carcinogenic activity appears to be due to the induction of both phase I and II detoxifying enzymes as well as inhibition of enzymes responsible for the reactivation of detoxified carcinogens . Considering that tumorigenesis is a multistep process initiated and promoted by several factors including carcinogen activation and chronic inflammation, cumin fruits offer a potential source of anticancer compounds. While extensive chromatographic separation of the essential oils derived from cumin fruit was attempted, there were no attempts to identify the active ingredient(s) responsible for the observed biological activities [9-11]. Identification of the cumin fruit phytochemicals with anticancer and/or anti-inflammatory properties will not only help our understanding of the mechanism of their action but also the influence of this dietary ingredient on health.
Based on the knowledge of the biological effects of cumin fruit described above, I hypothesize that cumin fruit contains compound(s) that inhibit tumor growth, metastasis, chemotaxis, and/or angiogenesis. My goal in this research project is to identify the active compound(s) of cumin fruit that have the potential to inhibit growth of cancer cells. Towards this goal, I propose to undertake a bioassay-guided purification of the cumin fruit by a combination of solvent partition and chromatographic techniques to identify compound(s) that inhibit the growth of prostate (PC-3), breast (MCF-7), and/or colon (Caco-2) cancer cells compared to normal cells.
Preparation of extracts
Extraction of commercially available cumin fruit with water, water-methanol (30:70 v/v), and chloroform is planned to ensure the extraction of compounds that span the...