Latest News » Protein in fish may inhibit the spread of cancer cells, study shows

Compounds found in fish can promote brain health and may prevent the spread of prostate cancer.

Compounds found in fish can promote brain health and may prevent the spread of prostate cancer.

As the most well-known source of omega-3 fatty acids, fish is already a natural brain enhancer. Plus, these compounds have also been shown to promote heart health, ease joint pain and even improve your mood. Recently, though, researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine have discovered another nutrient found in fish that boasts an impressive health benefit.

According to a press release from the university, scientists have isolated a protein – or peptide – in Pacific cod – that has the potential to prevent cellular metastasis in individuals with prostate cancer. Metastasis is the process by which cancer cells spread from one part of the body to another. Using an animal model, the researchers discovered that the peptide contains a Thomsen-Friedenreich disaccharide (TFD) that binds to a protein in the body known as galectin-3 that is associated with prostate cancer. In doing so, it prevents the protein from reacting with a TFD antigen found on the surface of human cells and thereby can keep the invasive cells from spreading.

"The use of natural dietary products with anti-tumor activity is an important and emerging field of research," assistant professor and senior study author Hafiz Ahmed, Ph.D, said of the finding.

This protein is not the first naturally occurring compound that has been found to contain metastasis. Past research has revealed that curcumin – which is derived from turmeric – also inhibits this hazardous spread of cancer cells. In addition, thanks to their immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin supplements can help promote brain health, manage rheumatoid arthritis and generally protect the body from a wide range of ailments.  

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