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A polysaccharide found in brown algae shows great anticancer potential

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting men in the U.S. Although deemed survivable, it remains a considerable cause of death. A paper published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine discussed the anti-tumor properties of fucoidan, a bioactive polysaccharide derived from algae, and how it can be used as a natural and alternative treatment for prostate cancer.

The study had two primary goals: Investigate the anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic properties of fucoidan, and determine how JAK-STAT3 pathways offer protection. JAK-STAT refers to cellular pathways (composed of JAK and STAT components) that allow both healthy and malignant cells to express genes and produce proteins in response to stimuli from their environment.

STAT3, in particular, helps the cell adapt to its environment, making it a vital piece in a tumor cell’s ability to survive and spread.

In their experiment, the researchers treated DU-145 human prostate cancer cells with 100-1000 μg/mL (microgram per milliliter) of fucoidan. They used various types of cell culture assays (MTT, EdU, Transwell, and Matrigel) to study cell viability, proliferation, migration, and tube formation.

The scientists injected athymic nude mice with DU-a45 cells to induce a xenograft model. The animals were then treated with 20 mg/kg of fucoidan for 28 days via oral gavage.

Tumor volume and weight were measured and recorded, while vascular density in the tumor was determined using hemoglobin assay and endothelium biomarker analysis. A Western blot was used to examine protein expression and phosphorylation of JAK and STAT3, while chromatin immunoprecipitation was used to look into the activation of gene promoters.

The findings showed that fucoidan could dose-dependently reduce cell viability and even cease the proliferation of DU-145 cancer cells. Fucoidan also successfully inhibited angiogenesis or the formation of new blood vessels that tumors cause to hasten their development and proliferation. This reduced the amount of hemoglobin in the tumor tissue and hindered the growth of the cancerous mass.

Moreover, treatment reduced the action of JAK-STAT3 pathways, as well as the activation of genes that are regulated by STAT3.

The researchers concluded that fucoidan’s anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic properties can be used as an alternative or complementary strategy for treating prostate cancer.

Fast facts about prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men in the U.S., next only to skin cancer. Among the different kinds of cancer, it also follows lung cancer as the deadliest. It rarely affects men under the age of 40; the risks only become worse as an individual becomes older.

Despite all this, prostate cancer has an incredibly high survival rate. Its five-year survival rate (the percentage of people who survive five years after being diagnosed) is at 99 percent, although this largely depends on the stage that a patient was first diagnosed at. Patients diagnosed at the most advanced stage has a five-year survival rate of only 29 percent.

The findings of the study point to fucoidan as a potential alternative to toxic chemotherapy, the most commonly used treatment method for most cancers. Chemo is not as safe as Big Pharma and its agents like to claim, causing a wide range of complications that leave patients in worse conditions and a deplorable quality of life.

As in the case of most cancers, the risk of prostate cancer can be lowered by living a healthy lifestyle. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Some fats cause cancer, some don’t. Most animal fats are notorious risk factors for many types of diseases besides cancer. Instead of cheese, lard, and butter, you can choose good fats from plant sources like olives and various nuts.
  • Smoking kills. Cigarettes are infamous for being one of the leading causes of lung cancer, but it can also increase the risk of contracting other diseases.
  • Fruits and vegetables are crucial. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables protect the cells and keep them safe from carcinogens.
  • Opt for fish instead of red meat. Fish makes for a great alternative to red meat as a source of protein. Fatty fishes, in particular, contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical movement helps eliminate excess fat and obesity, which is often linked to cancer and other types of disease.

Find more ways to naturally combat prostate cancer at

Sources include:

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