Drugs from the Sea: Mollusks

music
ambience: ocean, waves breaking

Scientists are continuously scouring the planet for sources of new drugs. Well, now that search has led them to the ocean floor. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Underwater sea life is a virtually untapped resource which has the potential to alter the face of modern medicine. Lawrence Rouse is the director of the Coastal Marine Institute at Louisiana State University.

“Because these organisms t have existed in the ocean for much longer than organisms that have existed on land, Life in the ocean began billions of years ago. So these organisms have had a long time to evolve and to build in natural protective compounds. The ocean’s been a natural laboratory for uh, organic chemistry in a sense.”

Lawrence Rouse and his research team are examining marine organisms which grow at the bottom of oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. These platforms act as artificial reefs, providing habitat for bacteria, algae, barnacles, and other creatures which are now being studied for their potential pharmaceutical value.

“Mollusks are another prime example of uh organisms that have a wide range of uses in pharmacology. Uh, the Seahair, which is a shelled organism, produces a substance that has undergone clinical trials for the treatment of cancerous tumors. One, it’s produced a compound that shows good potential for bladder cancer. Cystosomiasis, which is a snail born disease has shown a response to chemicals produced by certain mollusks.”

We’ll hear more about drugs from the sea in future programs. Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Drugs from the Sea: Mollusks

Mollusks are one example of organisms being studied for their natural protective compounds.
Air Date:03/10/2004
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: ocean, waves breaking

Scientists are continuously scouring the planet for sources of new drugs. Well, now that search has led them to the ocean floor. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Underwater sea life is a virtually untapped resource which has the potential to alter the face of modern medicine. Lawrence Rouse is the director of the Coastal Marine Institute at Louisiana State University.

"Because these organisms t have existed in the ocean for much longer than organisms that have existed on land, Life in the ocean began billions of years ago. So these organisms have had a long time to evolve and to build in natural protective compounds. The ocean’s been a natural laboratory for uh, organic chemistry in a sense."

Lawrence Rouse and his research team are examining marine organisms which grow at the bottom of oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. These platforms act as artificial reefs, providing habitat for bacteria, algae, barnacles, and other creatures which are now being studied for their potential pharmaceutical value.

"Mollusks are another prime example of uh organisms that have a wide range of uses in pharmacology. Uh, the Seahair, which is a shelled organism, produces a substance that has undergone clinical trials for the treatment of cancerous tumors. One, it's produced a compound that shows good potential for bladder cancer. Cystosomiasis, which is a snail born disease has shown a response to chemicals produced by certain mollusks."

We'll hear more about drugs from the sea in future programs. Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music