Angiogenesis, Apoptosis & Tumor Modulation

Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels – a necessary process during growth and tissue repair. This process, however, is also exploited by cancer cells during the formation of tumors. Fucoidan has been shown to have both pro-angiogenesis and anti-angiogenesis effects, depending on the properties of the fucoidan fraction. For instance, low molecular weight fucoidan has promoted revascularisation of limbs with poor blood supply while a number of fucoidans inhibit tumour cell invasion and angiogenesis. The mechanism for these effects appears to be the interaction with vascular endothelial growth factor via surface receptors called neuropilins. Marinova’s research and development team have created a library of unique Maritech® Extracts which may be used and assessed in models of revascularisation or inhibition of tumor growth. Apoptosis or “programmed cell death” in cancer cells has also been shown to be induced by fucoidan fractions. A number of in vivo studies have shown that fucoidan and other seaweed extracts exhibit profound tumor inhibition qualities. When combined with other relevant bioactivities, these tumour-inhibiting qualities suggest a potential for fucoidan compounds to possess anti-cancer properties. It is for this reason that considerable research is being undertaken in this area.

In conjunction with the Royal Hobart Hospital in Australia, Marinova has undertaken a study in end-stage cancer patients to measure the safety of Undaria pinnatifida seaweed. The findings from this study will be presented at an upcoming conference, and will add to the existing scientific literature relevant to the use of Undaria pinnatifida fucoidan as a complementary nutritional support to cancer treatments.


For examples of fucoidan activity in this area, refer to the following journal articles:

Dias PF, Siqueira Jr JM, Vendruscolo LF, et al. Antiangiogenic and antitumoral properties of a polysaccharide isolated from the seaweed Sargassum stenophyllum. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2005;56(4):426-446.

Funahashi HT, Imai T, Mase T, et al. Seaweed prevents breast cancer?. Jpn J Cancer Res. 2001;92(5):483-487.

Haneji K. Matsuda T, Tomita M, et al. Fucoidan extracted from Cladosiphon okamuranus tokida induces apoptosis of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1-infected T-cell lines and primary adult T-cell leukemia cells. Nutr Cancer. 2005;52(2):189-201.

Narazaki M, Segarra M, Tosato G. Sulfated polysaccharides identified as inducers of neuropilin-1 internalisation and functional inhibition of VEGF165 and semaphorin3A. Blood. 2008;111(8):4126-36.