Other Medical Benefits
Horseshoe crabs have also been proven to benefit cancer research. Endotoxins are known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Therefore, the ability of the LAL test to detect cancer cells may lead to a new type of cancer therapy using endotoxins. Another substance found in horseshoe crab blood may have the potential for diagnosing leukemia. This substance reacts with red and white human blood cells, including cancerous white blood cells in leukemia patients.
Furthermore, a New Jersey Sea Grant project has recently discovered a rare protein in horseshoe crab blood that traces and binds with vitamin B12. These findings led to the development of an accurate, cost-efficient testing kit for detecting vitamin B12-related deficiencies and diseases, which may include pernicious anemia, gastric and intestinal damage, and even mental disorders.
- Stacy Epperson
Aquatic Resource Education Dept
Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-2
Annapolis, MD 21401