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Phytoplankton Toxin Kills Cancer Cells

A National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science scientist and partners  have identified and characterized a powerful fish-killing toxin that has cancer-killing properties.

Laboratory tests indicate that even low concentrations of euglenophycin led to a significant decrease in cancer cell growth, and can kill cancer cells.  Preliminary studies show the toxin is highly effective against renal cancer, one of the most challenging cancers to treat.

Euglenophycin is found in a unicellular pond organism called Euglena sanguinea, and has a molecular structure similar to a toxin in fire ant venom.

This work is an example of natural products derived from freshwater and marine organisms as effective new treatments for a variety of human diseases, including cancer. This research was conducted by NOAA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to advance human health and well-being.

The findings were published in the journal Toxicon online July 15, 2009, and in the January 2010 paper issue.

See also: Making Waves: Powerful Fish-Killing Toxin May Lead to Human Health Benefits (Episode 36)

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