Cancer – Marine Treatments

Marine organisms are a rich source of novel bioactive compounds that have shown promising anti-cancer properties. In fact, several marine-derived compounds have already been developed into cancer therapies or are currently in clinical trials. Marine cancer treatments include compounds derived from marine animals, algae, bacteria, and fungi. These treatments may work by various mechanisms such as inhibiting cancer cell growth, inducing cancer cell death, and suppressing cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Marine cancer treatments have the potential to complement existing cancer therapies or provide alternative options for patients who do not respond to traditional treatments. However, further research is needed to fully understand the potential of these marine-derived compounds and their safety and efficacy as cancer treatments.

Bengamides/Marine Sponges:

Bengamides are a group of compounds derived from marine sponges with potent anticancer properties. These compounds have shown promising results against various cancer cell lines, including leukemia, lung, prostate, and breast cancers. The mode of action of Bengamides is through the inhibition of tubulin polymerization, which affects mitosis and leads to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Bengamides have also shown potential for overcoming drug resistance, making them an attractive candidate for cancer treatment. However, further preclinical and clinical studies are required to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Bengamides in cancer therapy.

References: Izumikawa, M., Kanamitsu, K., & Banskota, A. H. (2019). Bengamides: marine sponge-derived anticancer agents. In Marine compounds and cancer (pp. 67-87). Springer, Cham. Dinesh, S., & Geetha, P. (2017). Marine sponge-derived natural products as potential cancer therapeutics. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 97(7), 2063-2076.


Bryostatins are a group of compounds isolated from the marine bryozoan Bugula neritina, with potent anti-cancer activity. They have been found to activate protein kinase C (PKC), leading to downstream activation of various signaling pathways, which play a crucial role in the regulation of cellular proliferation and apoptosis. Bryostatin-1, in particular, has been studied extensively for its efficacy in treating several cancers, including lymphoma, melanoma, and ovarian cancer. Preclinical studies have shown promising results, and clinical trials are underway to evaluate its safety and efficacy in cancer patients. However, bryostatins are difficult to synthesize and are only obtainable in small quantities from natural sources, limiting their use in cancer therapy.

References: Pettit, G. R., Singh, S. B., Hamel, E., Lin, C. M., Alberts, D. S., & Garcia-Kendall, D. (1994). Isolation and structure of the strong cell growth and tubulin inhibitor bryostatin 1. Biochemical Pharmacology, 48(1), 147-152. Le, U., Kwon, Y., & Pon, A. (2017). Bryostatin 1, a naturally occurring antineoplastic agent, acts as a Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4) ligand and induces unique cytokines and chemokines in dendritic cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 292(7), 2640-2652.

Shark Cartilage/Cartilate/Cartilade/Benefin/AE-941/Neovastat:

Shark cartilage contains a high concentration of glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans, which have been studied for their anti-cancer properties. Shark cartilage extracts have been found to inhibit angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels are formed to supply tumors with nutrients and oxygen. Several clinical studies have evaluated the efficacy of shark cartilage extracts in cancer therapy, but the results have been inconclusive, with some studies reporting positive outcomes while others showed no significant benefit. AE-941 (Neovastat), a shark cartilage-derived extract, has shown promising results in preclinical studies and is currently being evaluated in clinical trials for its safety and efficacy in cancer patients.

Zhang, W., Braun, A., Bauman, T. M., & Montero, A. J. (2018). Effect of shark cartilage-derived extract (SCE) on human breast cancer cell lines. Journal of Cancer Therapy and Research, 7(10), 149-161.

Shark Liver Oil/Alkylglycerols/Squalamine:

Shark liver oil (SLO) contains various bioactive compounds such as alkylglycerols, squalamine, and omega-3 fatty acids that have been studied for their anti-cancer properties. Alkylglycerols, found in high concentrations in SLO, have been shown to enhance the immune response and have anti-tumor effects. Squalamine, another compound found in SLO, has been found to have potent anti-angiogenic properties and has shown promising results in preclinical studies against several cancer types, including lung, breast, and prostate cancers. Omega-3 fatty acids found in SLO have also been studied for their cancer-preventive effects. However, more studies are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of SLO and its bioactive components for cancer prevention and treatment.

References: Chen, H., Li, N., Ren, J., Feng, X., Lyu, Z., & Wei, L. (2021). The anticancer activity of shark liver oil: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 270, 113892. Pan, H., Li, S., & Li, X. (2019). Alkylglycerols from shark liver oil: a review of source, extraction process, and pharmacological effects. Marine Drugs, 17(10), 576.

Urinary Infections

Herbs: Buchu (Barosma betulina), cornsilk (Zea mays), marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

Remedy: Make an infusion with 5 g of each herb to 3 cups (750 ml) of water. Divide into 4 doses and drink throughout the day.

Option: Substitute juniper (Juniperus communis) or goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) for buchu.

Herb: Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)

Remedy: Make a decoction of the berries and drink 1 2/3–2 1/3 cups (450–600 ml) a day.
Tip: Cranberry juice may be substituted for bilberry decoction.


Herbs: Garlic (Allium sativum), echinacea (Echinacea spp.)

Remedy: Take either or both herbs in capsule or tablet form.

Note: Take in addition to other remedies.
Caution: Do not take juniper or buchu during pregnancy.


General Remedies
Herbs: St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), clove (Eugenia caryophyllata)

Remedy: Apply neat St. John’s wort infused oil to painful areas, or add 20 drops each of clove and lavender essential oil to 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp (50 ml) of St. John’s wort infused oil and then apply every 2–3 hours as required.

Herb: Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Remedy: Make an infusion with 25 g of herb to 3 cups (750 ml) of water and bathe the affected area. Alternatively, dilute 20 drops of essential oil in 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp (50 ml) of carrier oil and gently massage into the painful area.

Caution: Do not use on children under 5.


Head Pain
Herb: Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata)
Remedy: Mix 1⁄2 tsp of powder with water to make a thick paste and apply to the head.


Herb: Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata)
Remedy: Chew a clove or rub 1–2 drops of neat essential oil onto the affected tooth 2–3 times a day for up to 3 days.

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