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Biobran (MGN3)

Biobran (MGN-3) is a natural compound. It is made from breaking down rice bran with enzymes from the Shitake mushroom. There is not enough reliable evidence to support  MGN-3 as a treatment for cancer.

Summary

  • Biobran is made from rice bran using enzymes from Shitake mushrooms
  • There is not enough reliable evidence to use it as a treatment for cancer
  • It has no reported side effects, but you should not take it with drugs that lower the immune system

What is Biobran?

Biobran (MGN-3) is a natural compound. To make it, enzymes from the Shitake mushroom break down rice bran. It is made in Japan and sold as a food supplement.

It has different brand names:

  • Biobran (globally)
  • Lentin Plus (Japan/Asia)
  • Ribraxx (Australia/New Zealand)
  • BRM4 (United States)

Why people with cancer use it

Several companies are promoting Biobran. They state that the product can cause you to 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 doesn't prove Biobran can stop cancer growth.

How you have it

Biobran is a food supplement. You can buy it as tablets or a powder.

 

Side effects

Biobran has no reported side effects. But you should not take it with any medication that lowers your immune system. Talk to your doctor first if you are thinking of taking Biobran.

Research into Biobran and cancer

Before any new treatment can be used, it goes through a long process of development. During this process, the researchers test to check that it works. They also make sure that it doesn’t do any harm, and that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Only well designed clinical trials can find out if Biobran works as a cancer treatment.

Most of the research into Biobran had been in the laboratory. Scientists found that Biobran increased the activity of a type of immune cell (dendritic cell) against cancer.

A study on rats with liver cancer in 2016 showed that Biobran caused cancer cells to die. It also stopped further cancer cells from developing.

Researchers did a small trial in Vietnam in 2010. It showed that Biobran seemed to help some people live longer. This was when they combined Biobran with conventional treatments for liver cancer. But the authors said that larger trials were needed. Only then will  it be possible to know if Biobran can help people with liver cancer.

Several case studies showed that tumour markers went down in people who took Biobran. They took it with conventional treatment. But case studies are not enough evidence to use it as a treatment for cancer.

An evidence review in 2018 looked at Biobran as a complementay therapy. This means that a group of experts gather all the evidence about a particular subject. They then go through it to work out whether there is any evidence to support it.

The review found that Biobran was safe to use. It said that people could use Biobran as complementary immune therapy. The researchers said that it could help to reduce side effects. It could also improve treatment outcomes and improve long-term survival.

But, the researchers felt that more in-depth studies are necessary. They also suggested better-designed studies in future research.

How much it costs

Be cautious about believing information or paying for complementary cancer therapy on the internet.

A word of caution

It is understandable that you might want to try anything if you think it might help treat or cure your cancer. Only you can decide whether to use a complementary cancer therapy such as Biobran.

You could harm your health if you stop your cancer treatment for an unproven treatment.

Many websites might promote Biobran as a cure for cancer. But no reputable scientific cancer organisations support any of these claims.

Last reviewed: 
03 Dec 2018
  • Evidence-Based Review of BioBran/MGN-3 Arabinoxylan Compound as a Complementary Therapy for Conventional Cancer Treatment.

    S Ooi and others

    Integrative Cancer Therapies, 17(2), 165-178, 2018

  • Modified arabinoxylan from rice bran, MGN-3/biobran, sensitizes metastatic breast cancer cells to paclitaxel in vitro
    M Ghoneum and others
    Anticancer Research, 2014. Volume 34, Issue 1

  • Arabinoxylan rice bran (MGN-3) enhances the effects of interventional therapies for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma: a three-year randomized clinical trial
    MH Bang and others
    Anticancer Research, 2010. Volume 30, Issue 12

  • BioBran-augmented maturation of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells
    D Cholujova and others
    Neoplasma, 2009. Volume 56, Issue 2

  • MGN-3/Biobran, modified arabinoxylan from rice bran, sensitizes human breast cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agent, daunorubicin
    S Gollapudi and M Ghoneum
    Cancer Detection and Prevention, 2008. Volume 32, Issue 1

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