We have had fish oil on our must consume list for many years, now there might be some additional data confirming this long known recommendation. Research published in the March 2010 print edition of the FASEB Journal reports that scientists have show that the omega-3 fatty acid, “docosahexaenoic acid” or “DHA,” and its derivatives in the body kill neuroblastoma cancer cells. Many scientists believe this discovery, or should I say confirmation, could also be appropriate for the control and treatment of other cancers, including neuroblastoma, medulloblastoma, colon, breast, and prostate cancers.

Helena Gleissman, Ph.D., co-author of the study from the Childhood Cancer Research Unit of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden said, “Ultimately, we hope that we can be able to cure more children with neuroblastoma, and possibly other cancers.” She added that “We hope that this study can provide a deeper understanding of the actions of omega-3 fatty acids and their products in cancer cells, and why they can be of such high importance in the future treatment of this disease.”

The researchers administered DHA to neuroblastoma cells they obtained from the nervous system and analyzed these cells for byproducts as the DHA was metabolized into the cells. Specifically, they examined the affect of both DHA and its derivatives on the growth of cancer cells. They found that the DHA killed the cancer cells, but, to their surprise, the toxic derivatives produced by DHA were even more effective at killing the cancer cells. These results are a clear indicator that DHA could might provide the basis for new treatments for neuroblastoma and possibly many other cancer, including prostate cancer.
“This is good news for those looking to stop cancer. We now know that DHA plays both offense and defense when it comes to protecting our health,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. “It’s ability to help prevent numerous diseases is well documented, but now we see that DHA or one of its byproducts might serve as the starting point for a new class of anti-cancer drugs.”

So, eat your fish and don’t forget your fish oil pills. Buy only high quality and fresh fish oil.

Journal Reference:
1. Helena Gleissman, Rong Yang, Kimberly Martinod, Magnus Lindskog, Charles N. Serhan, John Inge Johnsen, and Per Kogner. Docosahexaenoic acid metabolome in neural tumors: identification of cytotoxic intermediates. The FASEB Journal, 2010; 24 (3): 906 DOI: 10.1096/fj.09-137919

Joel T Nowak, MA, MSW