Nagalase is an enzyme found in the body and it has a role to play in breaking down the sugar we take in our food into other forms that can be utilized in the body in the struggle for survival. However, nagalase is a short form for the incredibly long scientific name it represents: N-acetyl-Galactosaminidase. Nagalase has specialized in splitting off a specific sugar molecule from other large molecules. This molecule is known as N-acetyl galactosamine. Nagalase splits this molecule from Vitamin D-binding protein (DBP) that can be found in serum and is also known as Gc-protein.
The important thing about nagalase is that the scientific community has discovered nagalase levels are increased in patients with tumors (cancer) 1, 2. Furthermore, nagalase depresses the activity of the immune system, and this activity helps cancer cells to grow and tumors to metastasize (spread) to other body organs and sites.
How does nagalase increase tumor cell formation and spread?
Nagalase causes immunosuppression by preventing the formation of a molecule that stimulates the immune system. This molecule is known as Gc-MAF and is derived from Gc-protein 3, 4. Gc protein has three sugar molecules, N-acetyl galactosamine, galactose and sialic acid. Galactose and sialic acid are removed from Gc-protein and the resultant molecule has been observed to have an effect on macrophages, which are immune cells that go around the body destroying invading microorganisms and consuming abnormal cells (for example cancer cells). It has been postulated that Gc-MAF is important in defending against tumor cell growth and spread5, 6. By preventing the formation of Gc-MAF, nagalase leaves the body without a vital defense structure in place, making it more vulnerable to cancer.
Is there a link between Nagalase and chronic viruses?
Increased nagalase activity has been linked with chronic viruses such as influenza viruses, and it has been established that nagalase activity resides on the outer envelope protein (Hemagglutinin) of the influenza virion. Nagalase levels are also increased in people living with HIV, as it is part of the gp120 protein of HIV.
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What is the Nagalase test?
A test for nagalase levels is a quantitative test that seeks to establish the prevailing levels of nagalase in your body. When your levels are found to be within the normal range, then you are healthy and the chances of developing cancer are relatively low. However, if your levels are above the normal range for the lab conducting the test, then this means that there has been increased tumor cell activity in your body. This is a harbinger for cancer. Nagalase levels can also increase in other diseases, but this increase has mostly been described for cancer.
Testing will involve taking a blood sample from you and isolating the enzyme from the sample. Enzyme activity of the enzyme will then be determined quantitatively. It is also important to note that when your nagalase levels have declined from a previous high level, this could be interpreted as a success in the current therapeutic intervention being undertaken. This is especially so if the doctors managing you have been monitoring Gc-MAF therapy. Gc-MAF therapy involves introducing synthetic (artificially produced) Gc-MAF into the body in order to stimulate the immune system. This works because the artificial Gc-MAF cannot be inactivated by the nagalase enzyme in your blood.
The Nagalase test is a great blood test for finding very early signs of cancer and/or chronic viral infections, and this will improve chances of early diagnosis and management.
- Yamamoto et al.Immunotherapy for prostate cancer with Gc protein-derived macrophage-activating factor, GcMAF.Transl Oncol (2008a) 1:65-72
- Reddie et al.Serum alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase is associated with diagnosis/prognosis of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix Cancer letters (2000) 158:61-64
- Saharuddin et al. Tumor cell alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase activity and its involvement in Gc-MAF- related macrophage activation Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A (2002) 132:1-8
- Kuchiike et al.Degalactosylated/desiaylated human serum containing GcMAF induced macrophage phagocytic activity and in vivo antitumor activity Anticancer Res (2013) 33: 2881-2886
- Ward et al.Clinical experience of cancer immunotherapy integrated with oleicacid complexed with de-glycosylated vitamin D binding protein Am J Immunol (2014): 23-32
- Ruggiero et al.Oleic acid, deglycosylated vitamin D-binding protein, nitric oxide: a molecular triad made lethal to cancer Anticancer Res (2014) 34:3569-3578