Squid ink is used as a defense mechanism in many species of marine cephalopods, and is also considered a delicacy in Spanish and other cuisines. It now joins a growing number of marine-derived sources of naturally occurring inhibitors of angiogenesis.
A new paper in the journal Carbohydrate Polymers illuminates the potential anti-cancer properties of a sulfated polysaccharide isolated from the ink of the squid Ommastrephes bartrami. Ommastrephes bartrami, known as the neon flying squid, is a species found in the western Pacific Ocean. In laboratory experiments, squid ink polysaccharides (SIPs) inhibited angiogenesis, the growth of new capillary blood vessels, and the invasion and migration of tumor cells. Angiogenesis is critical for the growth and development of cancerous tumors. This is the first study to show that substances derived from squid ink could form the basis of new therapies for the prevention of tumor metastasis and possibly angiogenesis.