DEAD SEA, Jordan — Seaweed extract may eventually emerge as a lymphoma treatment, according to laboratory research presented at the second AACR Dead Sea International Conference on Advances in Cancer Research: From the Laboratory to the Clinic, held here March 7-10, 2010.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system and is classified into Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s types, which are then further classified into B-cell and T-cell groups.
“Some forms of B-cell lymphoma are especially resistant to standard treatment and thus new therapies are needed,” said Mohammad Irhimeh, Ph.D., assistant professor of hematoncology and stem cells at the Hashemite University in Jordan. “In this study, we looked at a new treatment strategy using novel active compounds derived from a natural source — seaweed.”
Seaweeds containing fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide similar to heparin in chemical structure, have been reported to have anti-tumor activity in mice and some cell lines.
For the current study, Irhimeh and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, and Royal Hobart Hospital in Australia treated lymphoma cell lines with a commercially available seaweed extract.
They found that the extract had an inhibitory effect on the growth of lymphoma cell lines, while leaving the control healthy cells intact. The researchers also noted a significant pattern of activity in the genes known to be linked with apoptosis, or cell death, in lymphoma.
Irhimeh said they would continue to study the mechanism of action for these biological effects and had a goal of conducting phase II or III clinical trials.
The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 30,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and nearly 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowship and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 16,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.