Array Of Marine Derived Anti-Cancer Agents Now In Trials
A number of experimental anticancer agents derived from marine
sources are undergoing preclinical and clinical trials and there
is no end in sight.
A group of scientists have formed a world-wide collaboration to
investigate the anticancer effects of organisms found on coral
reefs and in deep ocean thermal vents, according to Dr. Gilberto
Schwartsmann and colleagues at Hospital de Clinicas de Porto
Alegre, Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Over the past few years, about 3,000 new compounds from various
marine sources have been described.
"This activity has been largely due to improvements in the technologies
involved in deep-sea sample collection and large-scale drug production
through aquaculture and drug synthesis which took place in the
1980s," the clinicians point out. "These developments suggest
that, in the future, the oceans will become an important source
of novel chemical classes not found in the terrestrial environment."
The manipulation of microbial biosynthetic pathways through genetic
engineering has also led to the production of interesting new
molecules. "These living organisms represent a rich reservoir
of genetic and metabolic diversity, which is ready to be exploited
and which will certainly make anticancer drug discovery even
more challenging in the next few years."
Thanks to Doctor's Guide 4/01
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