The Power of Polysaccharides
In recent decades, several biologically active polysaccharides and polysaccharide-protein complexes have been isolated from plants, lichen, algae, yeast, fungi, and mushroom, and due to their antitumor and immunomodulatory properties, these compounds have received considerable attention from researchers and health care professionals.
Overall, the two key mechanisms by which polysaccharides act on tumour cells are direct action (inhibition of cancer cell growth and induction of programmed cell death/apoptosis) and indirect action (stimulation of immunity). Immunosuppressive effects are recognizable in both cancer patients and tumour bearing animals, suggesting that the immune system plays an important role in the immune surveillance of cancer cells.
Thus, enhancement of the host immune response has been evaluated as a possible way of inhibiting tumour growth without damaging the host. In addition to their therapeutic and prophylactic properties, the polysaccharides are effective and less toxic than chemotherapy. The anticancer activity and immunomodulatory effects of most polysaccharides have shown the promising and real potential for the benefits of human health.
Source: Anticancer and Immunomodulatory Effects of Polysaccharides, Nutrition and Cancer, 2020 DOI: 10.1080/01635581.2020.1861310
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