Home pagePress monitoringCuttlefish ink found promising for cancer treatment

Cuttlefish ink found promising for cancer treatment

Date: 22.7.2019 

Researchers have found that cuttlefish ink – a black suspension sprayed by cuttlefish to deter predators – contains nanoparticles that strongly inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors in mice.

Kredit: Deng et al. (2019), American Chemical Society.The nanoparticles consist mostly of melanin by weight, along with amino acids, monosaccharides (simple sugars), metals, and other compounds. The researchers showed that the nanoparticles modify the immune function in tumors, and when combined with irradiation, can almost completely inhibit tumor growth.

"We found natural nanoparticles from cuttlefish ink with good biocompatibility that can effectively achieve tumor immunotherapy and photothermal therapy simultaneously," Xian-Zheng Zhang at the Chemistry Department at Wuhan University told Phys.org. "This finding might inspire more exploration of natural materials for medical applications."

In the in vitro experiments, the researchers found that irradiating the nanoparticles with near-infrared irradiation killed approximately 90% of tumor cells, although the nanoparticles displayed almost no cytotoxicity without irradiation. The researchers explained that the high melanin content of the nanoparticles plays a key role in the irradiation process, as melanin has an intrinsically good photothermal conversion ability.

In the future, the researchers plan to explore other natural materials that have anti-cancer properties. "Our research team is currently studying the biomedical potential of natural materials such as hair, cuttlefish ink, bacteria, fungi, and even the cells of the human body as a therapeutic drug carrier," Zhang said.





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