Bioactive polysaccharides from traditional Chinese medicine herbs as anticancer adjuvants

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine : Research on Paradigm, Practice, and Policy
Raymond Chuen-Chung Chang

Abstract

To review the nature, extent, bioactivities, and clinical application of polysaccharides in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) especially as adjuvants in cancer treatment. Literature review. Many fungal- and plant-derived bioactive polysaccharides with a broad range of immunomodulatory activities are found in TCM. Some such polysaccharides have been developed into drugs and show clinical efficacy in controlled trials while the majority of such compounds remain as nutraceuticals with only preliminary research. Such polysaccharides are generally nontoxic and possess other bioactivities such as inducing differentiation, stimulating hematopoiesis, antimetastasis, and antiangiogenesis, which make them ideal adjuvants in modern cancer therapy. Bioactive polysaccharides occur extensively in TCM herbs and are the basis of potentially useful application of TCM as an adjuvant in cancer therapies.

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