Phycocyanin and Its Potential Role in Cancer Treatment
Natural products from food and food supplements are constantly being examined for their potential use as an aid in treating chronic diseases. One such natural product is phycocyanin, a nutrient compound extracted from blue-green algae. Phycocyanin has shown a range of promising benefits such as anti-oxidation activity, anti-cancer activity, anti-inflammatory activity, photo-induced cytotoxicity, and its ability to stimulate the immune system (1).
This article reviewed the use of phycocyanin as a therapeutic, its anti-cancer activity, and focused on “the latest advances of phycocyanin as a promising anti-cancer drug” (2). It has been used in a number of cancer-related studies, such as breast cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, leukemia, and bone marrow cancer, both in-vitro and in-vivo (3). It has potential to possess strong, anti-cancer activity while also having few to no toxic side effects (4).
Some of the ways phycocyanin exerts anti-cancer activity is by blocking tumor cell cycles – which inhibits tumor cell proliferation; inducing tumor cell apoptosis – programmed cell death sometimes used to eliminate potentially harmful cells (5); and autophagy – the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells, to regenerate newer, healthier cells (6).
Read the full study:
(1-3) Jiang, Liangqian & Wang, Yujuan & Yin, Qifeng & Liu, Guoxiang & Liu, Huihui & Huang, Yajing & Li, Bing. (2017). Phycocyanin: A Potential Drug for Cancer Treatment. Journal of Cancer. 8. 3416-3429. 10.7150/jca.21058.
(4) Jung, I.L. Soluble extract from Moringa oleifera leaves with a new anticancer activity. PloS one. 2014; 9: e95492.
(5) “Apoptosis.” Khan Academy, https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/developmental-biology/apoptosis-in-development/a/apoptosis. Accessed 24 February 2020.
(6) “Autophagy: What You Need to Know.” Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/autophagy. Accessed 24 February 2020.