The stuff that keeps fish from becoming frozen filets as they swim around frigid waters may be the stuff that keeps cancer from spreading in humans. University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers found a protein derived from polar fish that may be the key to inhibiting prostate, and possibly other cancers, from spreading, according to preclinical research published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"The use of natural dietary products with anti-tumor activity is an important and emerging field of research," says senior author Hafiz Ahmed, Ph.D, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and scientist at the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) in a release. "Understanding how these products work could allow us to develop foods that also act as cancer therapeutics and agents for immunotherapy."
"This research breaks new ground in our ongoing quest to discover new ways to prevent cancers from metastasizing to distant parts of the body," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers distinguished professor and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "If we could one day offer patients a natural dietary supplement, derived from fish proteins, which could help to block that process, we could have a significant impact on improving patients' outcomes and survival."
Interestingly, the cancer-squashing potential of polar fish comes to light just as McDonald's introduces Fish McBites. The nugget-sized versions of the Filet-o-Fish are made from Alaskan pollack, another polar fish.