Citrus fruits may provide cancer cure

Citrus FruitsResearchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine highlighted a large body of published research demonstrating how modified citrus pectin (MCP), works against cancer. (Reuters)

Modified citrus pectin - developed from the skin of citrus fruits - could act as a potent anti-cancer therapy, a new research has found.

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine highlighted a large body of published research demonstrating how modified citrus pectin (MCP), works against cancer.

"This review does an excellent job consolidating our knowledge about modified citrus pectin's remarkable therapeutic impact," said Isaac Eliaz, integrative medicine researcher and MCP co-developer.

"In particular, it identifies MCP's different mechanisms of action against metastatic cancer, heavy metal toxicity and chronic, life threatening illnesses related to excess galectin-3," Eliaz said.

While plant pectins have long been known to support digestive and immune health through their actions in the GI tract, the main obstacle preventing them from exerting systemic benefits in the body has been their bio-availability. The long complex soluble fibers in regular pectin are simply too large to be absorbed into the circulation. This problem was solved with the development of MCP, which is prepared from regular citrus pectin using a modification process to reduce the size and cross branching of the pectin molecules.

The modification allows MCP to easily absorb into the circulation and exert numerous therapeutic effects throughout the body, now demonstrated in multiple peer reviewed studies.

The review discussed MCP's ability to control metastatic melanoma, as well as prostate, breast and colon cancers. These outcomes have been confirmed in multiple published studies, which have also shown MCP's ability to suppress angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth to tumours). Blocking angiogenesis is a key factor in preventing cancer metastasis.

MCP has also been shown to induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Apoptosis, known as programmed cell death, is suppressed in tumours, allowing them to grow uncontrollably. Numerous studies show MCP supports apoptosis in cancer, including a 2010 study from Columbia University which found that MCP induced apoptosis in both androgen dependent and androgen independent prostate cancer cells. This is particularly significant because androgen independent prostate cancer is a highly aggressive, difficult-to-treat cancer.

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