Kentucky-A revolutionary new implant made from curry powder could beat breast cancer.

The device is packed with a spice used to make turmeric - which gives curry its bright yellow colour.

Now scientists have found the spice, curcumin, shrinks tumours in mice by about a third and slows the rate at which rogue cells reproduce.

Numerous studies have found curcumin has anti-cancer properties. But eating lots of curry is not the answer as most of the spice just gets broken down in the stomach.

Scientists at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, got round the problem by packing the savoury powder inside miniature dissolving capsules.

Each one is just two millimetres long and contains 200 milligrammes of powder.

They implanted tumour-ridden mice with two capsules each and fed another group a daily diet of the curry spice.

For the next four months, they monitored tumour growth.The results, published in Cancer Prevention Research, showed the curry diet had no effect.

But the spicy implants reduced the size of tumours and stopped them multiplying so quickly.

Until now, the problem has been getting enough curcumin into the bloodstream to have any major effect.

In a report on their findings, researchers said: ‘Curcumin is widely known for its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.

‘The implants resulted in significant reduction in both the tumour multiplicity and tumour volume. But the dietary curcumin was ineffective.’

 The curry flavouring is thought to work by blocking the effects of hormones that feed the growth of breast cancer cells.

Other teams of researchers are looking at whether injecting curcumin into tumours could help women beat breast cancer.

Meanwhile, Cancer Research UK is currently funding a trial to see if giving curcumin to bowel cancer patients will boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

The results are due to be published next year.

The curry spice has also been found to have potential benefits in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.