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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