Cancer fajitas (fighters!)

A team of researchers at Nottingham University have discovered that a compound found in chillies called capsaicin can be used to target and kill cancer cells. It does this by attacking the mitochondria in the cells – this is the energy source, or powerhouse of the cells. Head researcher Dr Timothy Bates thinks this might explain why the incidence of many cancers is so much lower in Mexico and India and suggests that this work may lead to the development of new anti-cancer drugs.

Athanasiou et al., 2007. Vanilloid receptor agonists and antagonists are mitochondrial inhibitors: How vanilloids cause non-vanilloid receptor mediated cell death. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 354 (1) 50-55.