In vitro research uncovers pathways by which seaweed extract may inhibit cancer cell growth

March 7, 2019

An in vitro study has uncovered a potential pathway by which fucoidan, a bioactive compound found in brown macroalgae, may combat cancer cells. 

An in vitro study1 has uncovered a potential pathway by which fucoidan (Maritech by Marinova; Tasmania, Australia), a bioactive compound found in brown macroalgae, may combat cancer cells. Previous research of the fucoidan extract in preclinical animal and in vitro studies showed reduced tumor growth, and enhanced therapeutic effects of chemotherapy, but this new research untaken by the University of Tasmania identifies potential mechanisms of action.

Specifically, researchers identified cell cycle arrest, DNA damage, RNA metabolism, and protein synthesis as anti-cancer pathways of fucoidan. The findings indicate that it may limit cancer cells’ ability to make proteins, utilize energy, and repair damage to themselves. Moreover, the fucoidan extract worked selectively against cancer cells, not normal, healthy cells used as control.

“This research is exciting as we now have a more complete picture of how fucoidan delivers its anti-cancer effects,” said Helen Fitton, PhD, chief scientist for Marinova, in a press release. “These findings provide new insight for further research and the development of new complementary therapies.”

References:

1. Corban M et al. “Pathway analysis of fucoidan activity using a yeast gene deletion library screen.” Marine Drugs, vol. 17, no. 54 (2019)