Sea cucumbers are known as cancer warriors due to their known antitumor activity. Sea cucumbers are boneless saltwater animals found worldwide on the sea floor.
These sea creatures contain many anti-cancer substances. One of them — Frondoside A — works by antagonizing EP2 and EP4 receptors. According to studies conducted by the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, there is a growing body of evidence that Frondoside A may be a promising new agent with the potential to treat cancer and may also represent a potential new modality to antagonize EP4. Demonstrable anticancer activity has been confirmed in several models.
EP4 supports the metastasis of lung and colon cancer in mice. EP4 also protects tumor cells from chemotherapy-induced apoptosis (programmed cell death). Frondoside A may be suggested for use as a chemopreventive agent for metastatic cancer. By blocking the cancer growing receptors, tumors get starved and malignant cells do not survive.
Concurring research, such as that conducted by the Pacific Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Science, show that the death of tumor cells is caused by the fact that the sea cucumber activates proteins (caspases) that directly trigger the dying process in the tumor cells.
Sea cucumbers are being researched for use in treating a wide number of diseases, including breast and colon cancer. Specific research has confirmed the programmed death of the cancer cells of the prostate carcinogen. Similar success has been shown in the research of malignant cells in lungs, lymph nodes, the liver, the pancreas, the colon, breasts, and the brain, and in endometrial, melanoma, and other tumor types.
Sea cucumber extracts are being sold as dietary supplements in the form of powder or capsules. Due to their commercial value sea cucumbers are extensively harvested. Some of them are toxic, but some are edible and considered a delicacy, especially in Asian countries.
Recently, more and more countries have been overharvesting sea cucumbers. It has started to cause severe damage. For example, Hawaii temporarily banned any large-scale commercial harvesting of sea cucumbers from January 10, 2016. Similar measures have been taken by India, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, and many other countries.
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