A UK trial is investigating whether a simple curry ingredient can improve the treatment of patients with advanced bowel cancer.
Scientists will supplement standard chemotherapy with pills containing curcumin, a compound found in the yellow curry spice turmeric.
Laboratory tests have suggested that curcumin can boost the ability of chemotherapy drugs to kill bowel cancer cells.
The compound is known to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and also acts as an antioxidant.
It has traditionally been used as an alternative remedy for a wide range of problems including liver and digestive disorders, allergies and acne.
Some studies have indicated it may slow the spread of cancer, improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and protect healthy cells from the harmful effects of radiotherapy.
However, hard evidence from properly conducted scientific trials is currently lacking.