Antimicrobial Peptides: Alternative Therapy for Cancer Treatment?

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Sakawrat Kanthawong


Antimicrobial peptides are small peptide molecules that are part of innate immunity in various organisms. They have been reported as effective alternatives for combat many infectious diseases which are caused by Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria, virus, fungi and protozoa. Recently, several studies reported the anticancer activity of various antimicrobial peptides, both from natural sources and synthetic peptides. Most of antimicrobial peptides are generally cationic and amphipathic, which enable the peptides to interact with the anionic molecules that are present in the membrane of cancer cells and microorganism. Then, disrupt the membrane integrity via several mechanisms or unknown mechanisms as well. Moreover, antimicrobial peptides are not directed to a specific extracellular or intercellular receptors, and these may decrease some resistance mechanisms of cancer cells. Therefore, antimicrobial peptides may be developed as new potential anticancer agents or may synergize with the existing chemotherapeutic drugs.


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Kanthawong S. Antimicrobial Peptides: Alternative Therapy for Cancer Treatment?. SRIMEDJ [Internet]. 2015 May 25 [cited 2023 Jun. 7];30(2):191-9. Available from:
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