Mandapam seagrass could treat liver cancer: Study

Need to carry clinical trials to understand success rate better: Researchers

Published: 27th February 2023 07:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th February 2023 07:13 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A species of marine seagrass found in the Mandapam region near Rameswaram has the potential to be used in chemotherapy treatment for liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma), according to a study conducted by a team of researchers from University of Madras and Presidency College. The species, syringodium isoetifolium, was collected from Mandapam region almost two years ago.

The findings of the study were published in January in the South African Journal of Botany, published by Elsevier. S Elumalai, one of the researchers, said, “The present study showed that the isolated compound phlorizin, extracted from the seagrass has potent anti-cancer activity against HepG2 cell lines (liver cancer cell lines) and has the potential to be used in chemotherapy for liver cancer patients.”

The researchers tested the anti-cancer properties of phlorizin by injecting it in the cancer cells, obtained from National Center for Cell Science and found that the cancer cells showed a significant decrease in cell viability.

The researchers also conducted the test on mouse model after getting ethical clearance from Institution Animal Ethical Committee, JKK Nattraja College of Pharmacy, Kumarapalaya. Liver cancer was induced in healthy mice by administering them with Diethylnitrosamine (DEN)+CC1 DEN, the most commonly used chemical to induce liver cancer in mice.

“Our study showed that the seagrass species reduced the tumor burden in the mice induced with liver cancer,” said Elumalai. He added that overall, phlorizin has more potential anti-cancer effects, indicating that it is a promising candidate for the development of a better marine-based drug for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.

“We need to carry out clinical trials on specific hypothesis for a better understanding of the success rate of the medicine,” he added. The two other researchers in the team are Parthasarathi Perumal and Umamaheswari Arthanari from the department of plant biology and plant biotechnology of Presidency College, Chennai.  The researchers said that a lot of studies are being carried out on extracting drugs from sea across the world and India should also focus on the same.


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