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Brown Seaweed Fights Cancer Cells

FUKUOKA, Japan—Fucoidan, extracted from brown seaweed, showed anti-cancer properties in a recent study from the Graduate School of Bioresource and Bioenvironmental Sciences at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan (PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27441). The study reported fucoidan extract improved the therapeutic efficacy and safety of disease treatments.

The study authors noted fucoidan extract is an attractive method for improving the therapeutic efficacy and safety of cancer treatment, so they investigated the anti-tumor properties of fucoidan extract in human carcinoma cells and examined the underlying mechanisms of its activities.

Using an in vitro model, they found fucoidan extract inhibited the growth of MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, HeLa, and HT1080 cancer cells. Fucoidan extract helped to induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells, and that action was accompanied by DNA fragmentation, nuclear condensation and phosphatidylserine exposure. Data form the study suggest fucoidan extract activates apoptotic pathways in MCF-7 cancer cells.

The researchers said  fucoidan extract deserves further investigation as a natural anticancer and cancer-preventive agent.

A previous study found fucoidan helped reduce the incidence of flu, further showing the ingredient has immune-health properties.

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