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Research: Taking fish oil pills could help cure cancer

Studies have suggested consumption reduces cancer risk. They are readily available as over-the-counter supplements - with a global annual market worth over $32 billion

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(Shadow Inspiration via Shutterstock)

By Mark Waghorn via SWNS

Taking fish oil pills could help cure cancer, according to new research.

The omega-3 supplements boost immunotherapy drugs that attack tumors.

In experiments, disease spread in mice was slashed by two thirds.

Lead author Abigail Kelly, a medical student at Harvard University described the results as "very promising."

She said: "Dietary interventions can be powerful tools because they are relatively simple and inexpensive to implement.

"Our findings show omega-3 supplementation has the potential to broadly improve immunotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs in the clinical setting.”

Medications which stimulate the body's own immune system have revolutionized treatment. But they don't work for everyone.

Omega-3 is found in fish, nuts and seeds. They include EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

Studies have suggested consumption reduces cancer risk. They are readily available as over-the-counter supplements - with a global annual market worth over $32 billion.

Now the team has shown they increase the effectiveness of immunotherapy and anti-inflammatory cancer drugs.

Aggressive tumors in treated lab rodents reduced by 67 percent when the fatty acids were added to standard diets.

It is believed they act in tandem - making the combined effect greater than the sum of its parts.

On the other hand peers given fatty acids found in meat and eggs, known as omega-6, went downhill.

Ms Kelly said: "We demonstrated, for the first time, that the combination of immunotherapy and anti-inflammatory treatment was more effective when mice were fed diets enriched with omega-3 fatty acids.

"This is very promising because dietary supplementation is easy to implement for cancer patients and can be added for patients already on immunotherapy."

The researchers are now looking at the mechanism behind the anti-tumour activity of omega-3 supplementation.

They are carrying out studies with human cancer tissues and cells, human immune cells and animal models to aid. It offers a potential new treatment for patients.

Fish oil supplements have also been promoted as lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's.

Ms Kelly is presenting the findings at an American Society for Investigative Pathology meeting in Philadelphia.

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