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Can Biobran (MGN3) treat cancer?

Biobran (MGN-3) is a natural compound made from breaking down rice bran with enzymes from the Shitake mushroom. Companies promoting this product state that research has shown that people taking MGN-3 have an increased number of natural killer (NK) cells in their blood. NK cells are part of the immune system. Some cells of the immune system can recognise cancer cells as abnormal and kill them. But this does not prove it can stop a cancer growing. 

Laboratory trials seem to show that Biobran can increase the activity of a type of immune cell called a dendritic cell against cancer. And some trials seem to show that Biobran may make breast cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy. One small trial in Vietnam in 2010 seemed to show that Biobran could help some people to live longer when combined with conventional treatments for liver cancer. But the trial was too small and the authors say that larger trials are needed to see whether Biobran can really help people with liver cancer.

Only well designed clinical trials can find out if MGN-3 works as a cancer treatment. If you want to take MGN-3 as an additional treatment for cancer, we advise you to talk it over with your cancer specialist first. Currently there is no robust scientific evidence to show that MGN-3 helps to treat cancer.

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Updated: 4 February 2013