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Indian scientists discover seagrass has potential to cure liver cancer

Scientists in Chennai have discovered that seagrass found in Mandapam area of Tamil Nadu has potential to cure liver cancer

Scientists are looking for new resources to fight against diseases, including cancer. One of them is seagrass which has remained unexplored so far but its bioactive compounds have potential to become modern-day drugs.

Working in this direction, a study done by researchers from University of Madras and Presidency College has found that a marine seagrass species — syringodium isoetifolium – collected from Mandapam area in Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram district has the potential to be used in chemotherapy for treating liver cancer.

The details of the research done by scientists – Parthasarathi Perumal and Umamaheshwari Arthanari from the Department of Plant Biology and Plant Biotechnology, Chennai’s Presidency College and Elumalai Sanniyasi, Department of Biotechnology, University of Madras – were published in the South African Journal of Botany.

Talking about the study Sanniyasi said that phlorizin which is an isolated compound and is extracted from seagrass “exhibited potential anti-cancer activity against HepG2 cell lines (liver cancer cell lines)”.

To test this the scientists injected phlorizin in the cancer cells and found that they showed a significant decrease in cell viability. After getting ethical clearance from the Institute Animal Ethical Committee, they also conducted the test on mouse models. According to the researchers it was found that “the seagrass species reduced the tumour burden in the mice induced with liver cancer”.

Further, the team also discovered that phlorizin has more potential anti-cancer effects making it a promising choice for treating hepatocellular carcinoma.

The researchers said that clinical trials need to be done to better understand the success rate of the medicine.