The first major study of Nigella sativa in cancer prevention and treatment was performed by scientists at Cancer Immuno-Biology Laboratory of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. They concluded that a healthy immune system will detect and destroy cancer cells before the cancer endangers the patient. Th e immune system does this by supporting increased production of immune cells, bone marrow cells, and B-cells that produce antibodies. Black cumin stimulates neutrophil activity. These are the short-lived immune cells that are normally found in bone marrow but mobilized into action when there is a bacterial infection. Extracts of black cumin have also been shown to modulate production of interleukins, a quality it shares with some other highly revered herbs: ginseng, astragalus, mistletoe, garlic, and cat's claw.
In animal studies, while none of the subjects in the control group survived, two-thirds of the mice that had been given black cumin seed oil were still alive 30 days after deliberate efforts to cause cancer in the subject groups. Black cumin is particularly useful in aggressive cancers whose growth depends on angiogenesis.
In vitro studies performed in Jordan and the United States have determined that the volatile oil is anti-leukemic. Studies performed in Spain as well as England found that the fixed oil is useful in the treatment of rheumatism and other inflammatory diseases. This property is attributed to thymoquinone which is as high as 25% in the Egyptian seed and missing entirely is some seeds.