Research tests show ginger kills cancer cells

New research carried out by researchers at the University of Michigan suggests that ginger could have an important role to play in treating ovarian cancer, reports the BBC.

The researchers used dissolved ginger powder, similar to that sold in shops, which they applied to ovarian cancer cells. In the study the ginger killed the cancer cells in each of the tests carried out.

Even more significantly, the ginger seemed to stop the cells from becoming resistant to treatment.

The US research demonstrated two types of cell death — apoptosis, in essence cell suicide, and autophagy, a kind of self-digestion.

The report's author, Rebecca Lui, told the BBC: "Most ovarian cancer patients develop recurrent disease, that eventually becomes resistant to standard chemotherapy, which is associated with apoptosis."

"If ginger can cause autophagic cell death in addition to apoptosis, it may circumvent resistance to conventional chemotherapy."

But the researchers have warned that the results are "very preliminary" and that a lot more work needed to be done to establish if ginger, in either natural or drug form, can prevent or treat cancers in animals or people. The US team now plans to test to see if they can obtain similar results in animals.