Scientists Discover Sea Coral With Chemicals That Can Help in Cancer Treatment - world cultures

Scientists Discover Sea Coral With Chemicals That Can Help in Cancer Treatment


Scientists and researchers around the world are constantly trying to find a cure for cancer. Now, they may have come up with a solution that could help treat the disease. Researchers at the University of Utah Health have discovered a soft coral that releases the chemical that treats cancer, eleutropin. This could be a huge leap in the field of cancer drug studies. Researchers have been searching for the source of this natural chemical for nearly 25 years. The DNA of these resilient corals can be studied to understand how the chemical is released. This will allow researchers to recreate the soft chemical complex of corals in the laboratory.

Eric Schmidt, professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Utah Health, was quoted as saying, “This is the first time we’ve been able to do this with any lead drug on Earth.”

These chemicals contain anti-inflammatory agents, antibiotics, and more. The possibility of synthetic production of these chemical compounds opens up opportunities for their mass production. This may lead to a new tool for treating cancer.

A second study led by Bradley Moore, Ph.D. at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography – University of California, San Diego – found that corals produce similar chemicals.

Both studies were published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology on May 23.

These compounds were more difficult to obtain, Schmidt said, but they were also easier to synthesize in a lab and consume as medicine.

Corals release their chemicals so predators can eat the compound and not harm the corals. Soft chemicals from coral are easy to digest. Hence, drugs derived from it can be administered as water-soluble tablets.

In order to be able to recreate eleutherobin in the lab, the scientists needed to study the DNA of soft corals. However, it was a difficult process to identify and ascertain that part of the coral’s DNA that would prove to be the source of erythropin.

They found regions of DNA that resemble the genetic coding of similar chemical compounds in other species. The researchers grew a culture of bacteria that repeated the first steps of making this chemical compound.

It’s like searching in the dark for an answer to a question people don’t understand, Schmidt said.


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