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Algae Fights Cancer, Saves Money

It has been easy to make the case for algal biomass as a sustainable source for fuel, food, feed and other commodities, but this week we were stunned to learn of the latest use for algae – as a new treatment for cancer.

That’s right. Algae just might be able to cure cancer.

This takes the importance of what our industry is doing to a whole new level, and ought to serve as a powerful justification for continued public and private investment in algae.

This week, news published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from the prolific lab of Dr. Stephen Mayfield at the University of California at San Diego, showed that scientists had developed a way, using algae, to create a human therapeutic drug to treat cancer. According to UCSD, this development “opens the door for making these and other ‘designer’ proteins in larger quantities and much more cheaply than can now be made from mammalian cells.”

“Because we can make the exact same drug in algae, we have the opportunity to drive down the price down dramatically,” said Stephen Mayfield, a professor of biology at UC San Diego and director of the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology or SD-CAB, a consortium of research institutions that is also working to develop new biofuels from algae.

This new development showcases the incredible power of algae to address some of our world’s most pressing issues, whether it’s fueling our vehicles, remediating waste water and CO2, or creating sustainable animal feed and human health foods. Come to think of it, there really isn’t much that algae can’t do.

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