The researchers at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, say they have identified a compound, found in the sea cucumber, which has proved to be active against pancreatic cancer cells in laboratory conditions.
Professor Thomas Adrian, of Creighton University, has a two-year grant from the American Institute for Cancer Research to investigate the sea cucumber compound.
The in vitro tests have shown that the compound can block the growth of several kinds of cancer cell - and one of the tasks the researchers have undertaken is to find out whether it could prevent the spread of pancreatic cancer.
Professor Adrian said, "There are more than 1,100 species of sea cucumbers world-wide.
Marine life offers a vast untapped resource for pharmaceutical development.
|Professor Thomas Adrian|
"These slow-moving creatures have been around for 500 million years, and have evolved sophisticated mechanisms for dealing with bacteria and the risk of being eaten by larger creatures."
"There are virtually no survivors of pancreatic cancer. In most cases, cancer has spread beyond the pancreas at the time of diagnosis, and drugs currently available are not effective in stopping the cancer growth."
He added, "Marine life offers a vast untapped resource for pharmaceutical development. We're looking at preventing cancer with pharmaceuticals and nutrition - the line is blurring between food and medicine."
Report Copyright: Englemed Health News at http://www.internationalmedicalnews.com