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The World in Medicine
May 19, 2004

Spicy Remedy?

JAMA. 2004;291(19):2309. doi:10.1001/jama.291.19.2309-c

A constituent of turmeric, the spice that gives curry and mustard their vivid yellow hue, might have potential for treating cystic fibrosis (CF), according to scientists in the United States and Canada who used the substance to correct the defect in mice with a form of CF (Science. 2004;304:600-602).

Cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in a gene that encodes the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. The most common form of the disease is caused by the mutation ΔF508, which produces a misfolded CFTR protein that is unable to move to the cell surface to transport chloride ions and water into and out of cells. As a result, the lungs and gastrointestinal tract become clogged with a thick mucus.

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