By Julia Newman ’19
Newly discovered properties of blue-green algae may make it a better treatment for brain tumors than any method or drug used in the past. Although this type of algae, also known as cyanobacteria, can be traced back over two billion years, the effect of the coibamide A found within cyanobacteria has only been discovered now.
Most cancer cells undergo a process identified as angiogenesis, during which the cardiovascular system is encouraged to bring high-nutrient blood to those cells. Coibamide A is capable of preventing this, and causes cells in even the fastest-growing brain tumors to be starved and induce a self-destructive pathway. Unlike most surgeries or chemotherapy procedures, the mechanism of coibamide A would eliminate every cancerous cell within a tumor, which decreases the chance of recurrence. In addition to brain tumors, this compound is also predicted to be effective in patients with triple negative breast cancer.
- Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Ancient algae offer new hope for hard-to-treat cancers. Science Daily (2016).
- Photo Retrieved From: http://reneweconomy.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Cyanobacteria.jpg