This invertebrate’s brand of chemical weaponry is conotoxins — a highly variable family of poisons that, although the snail uses them to kill fish, are more than capable of killing a human. This lack of susceptibility makes them much more challenging to treat and, therefore, significantly more dangerous. The threat of antibiotic resistance rarely leaves the forefront of medical researchers’ minds. The anticancer drug, Ara-C, is used to treat acute myelocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A growing number of pathogens are becoming impervious to modern antibiotics. Nevertheless, its development laid the foundation for large-scale cultivation and extraction of marine organisms, which proved essential for the development of other drugs from the sea.  As demand grows for discovery of novel industrial enzymes and new medicines, researchers are increasingly looking towards the ocean. In fact, the authors of a review on the topic even refer to them as a “drug treasure house.” They write: “Every year, around 5,300 different natural products and new compounds have been isolated from marine sponges. Another considerable issue is generating sufficient quantities of marine-derived chemicals. To date, the majority of drugs derived from natural sources come from land-dwelling organisms. Title: Anticancer Drugs Discovery and Development from Marine Organisms VOLUME: 9 ISSUE: 16 Author(s):Chiranjib Chakraborty, Chi-Hsin Hsu, Zhi-Hong Wen and Chan-Shing Lin Affiliation:Department of Marine Biotechnology and Resources, College of Marine Science and Division of Marine Biotechnology, Asia-Pacific Ocean Research Center, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohisung, Taiwan. Research in exploring bioactive secondary metabolites, from the ocean has yielded several promising Disclaimer Animals and plants that dwell in the ocean sit and swim in a bath of bacteria, fungi, and other organisms intent on turning them into a meal or a home. They presented their preliminary findings at the American Chemical Society Spring 2019 National Meeting & Exposition. Microfriends (pdf, 413 kb) – NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection: Why Do We Explore? Penicillin was discovered from common bread mold. - Keegan S., Virginia. This slime works hard to destroy pathogens in the marine environment, so some scientists wonder whether it might help fight off terrestrial pathogens as well. […] Such compounds proved to have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antimalarial, antitumor, immunosuppressive, and cardiovascular activity.”. Healing with the help of marine organisms is no utopia. Why Look to the Oceans as New Sources of Drugs? In a 2010 study involving women with breast cancer that had metastasized, the compound extended the lifespan of the participants. The search for new biomedical from marine organisms resulted in the isolation of more or less 10,000 metabolites 17 many of which endowed of pharmacodynamic properties. Secondly, many drugs have toxic side effects that make them unusable. Marine floras, such as bacteria, actinobacteria, cyanobacteria, fungi, microalgae, seaweeds, mangroves, and other halophytes are extremely important oceanic resources, constituting over 90% of the oceanic biomass. Some hope that marine sponges might be able to assist. Deep ocean trenches are islands of diversity in which evolution may have progressed differently.’ One of the main aims is to look for new antibiotics in newly discovered marine bacteria and the team will focus on drug discovery for neurological, inflammatory and other infectious diseases as well as in the area of cancer treatment. It is the field of science that deals with ocean exploration for development of new pharmaceutical drugs, chemical products, enzymes, and other products and processes. A California startup “bioprospects” for sponges, algae and other organisms whose chemistry may be useful to the world of medicine Ocean research offers promising new ways to predict disease Next, they tested this extract against other pathogens and found that five of the bacterial strains were highly effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), while three were effective against Candida albicans. They also need to coordinate reproduction by synchronizing the release of eggs and sperm into the environment. They grew these bacteria and reduced them to a chemical extract. In conclusion, although there appears to be a great deal of promise in the planet’s seas, many of the potential avenues are long and winding, and there will be no quick wins. Conus magus is a venomous sea snail whose diminutive size and decorative shell belie its deadly suite of neurotoxins. pii: E336. This diversity of threats has forced evolution to mount increasingly complex chemical battles. This article provides an overview of clindamycin, including what it can treat, how much doctors recommend taking…, Tomosynthesis is a method of breast screening that may be more reliable than a regular 2-D mammogram. As VLRs target the ECM, researchers believe that they could serve as drug mules that can transport chemicals through the normally impenetrable blood-brain barrier and straight to the brain. Actinobacteria are particularly interesting to medical researchers. If two species are competing for the same piece of bottom space, it would be helpful to produce a substance that would attack rapidly dividing cells of the competing organism. Sometimes called “termites of the sea,” shipworms bore into submerged wood, eating the cellulose of the wood and creating burrows. Because organisms must expend energy to produce natural products, however, the compounds are thought to confer an evolutionary advantage to the producing organism. Penicillin was discovered from common bread mold. Since cancer cells often divide more rapidly than normal cells, the same substance might have anti-cancer properties. The Ocean, which is called the ‘mother of origin of life’, is also the source of structurally unique natural products that are mainly accumulated in living organisms. The antiviral drugs Ara-A and AZT and the anticancer agent Ara-C, developed from extracts of sponges found on a Caribbean reef, were among the earliest modern medicines obtained from coral reefs. For instance, animals that are anchored to the floor and do not have armor plating, such as sponges and corals, need to find other ways to defend themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotic resistance is “one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.”. They also need to coordinate reproduction by synchronizing the release of eggs and sperm into the environment. Finding Medicines from the Ocean Instructions for Teachers Scientists are always looking for new medicines to cure diseases, stop pain, mend tissues, and kill infections. Most drugs in use today come from nature. As one author explains, they “are often characterized by structural novelty, complexity, and diversity.”. More often, however, drugs have subtle but significant effects on the behavior and development of organisms. Aspirin, for example, was first isolated from the willow tree. 1. Reliable figures are hard to come by, but it's a safe assumption that we, as consumers, are responsible for a hefty percentage of the pharmaceutical and personal care products that wind up in lakes, rivers, and streams. The Ocean, which is called the ‘mother of origin of life’, is also the source of structurally unique natural products that are mainly accumulated in living organisms. Unfortunately, a heavy reliance on coral reef resources worldwide has resulted in the overexploitation and degradation of many reefs, particularly those near major human populations. There are many good reasons to improve ocean health, but one of the most compelling is to make people healthier too. Other products, such as Dolostatin 10, isolated from a sea hare found in the Indian Ocean, are under clinical trials for use in the treatment of breast and liver cancers, tumors, and leukemia.” As the adage goes, we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the bottom […] Some people on this mission have turned to the sea, and one group has focused on fish slime — the gloopy coating that covers some species. 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