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Sea sponges produce molecules that could kill cancer cells

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

A recent study says that sea sponges contain chemicals that can be used to create tumor-killing substances. The sponge’s bioactive chemicals are capable of combating cancer cells that are generally tough to destroy with chemotherapy.

Treatment for metastatic prostate cancer has vastly improved in recent decades, resulting in improved overall patient survival and quality of life.

However, despite the strong efficacy of androgen receptor targeting medicines and non-hormonal treatments in the early stages of the disease, traditional therapy lose efficacy over time, which is reflected in a decline in responses and a drop in survival with each treatment. This situation brings together professional attempts to get a second treatment option.

To date, drug resistance therapy methods are limited, and novel medicines that effectively target drug-resistant prostate cancer are needed.

According to a large group of researchers who recently published their findings in the specialized journal Marine Drugs, marine invertebrates are a rich source of novel compounds with distinctive structures and intriguing biological activity.

Furthermore, scientists from Russia’s Far Eastern Federal University claim that the sea sponge molecules have other capabilities that help in the removal of cancers in the body.

After being isolated from the Fascaplysinopsis reticulata marine sponge, the molecule known as 3,10-dibromofascaplysin was chemically synthesized. The substance was tested on prostate cancer cells, and it induced the cancer cells to undergo “apoptosis,” or cell-mediated death.

“The examined compound, while killing cancer cells, even ones resistant to standard chemotherapy, simultaneously activates an enzyme (kinase) protecting these tumor cells. However, it can’t be considered as a “good” or “bad” effect. This is just a mechanism of action, an understanding of which suggests us to apply 3,10-dibromofascaplysin together with inhibitors of these enzymes,” said the study authors, in a statement.

The synthetic substance not only causes tumor cells to die, but it also acts in tandem with other anti-cancer treatments to improve their effectiveness. The researchers intend to test the substance on normal cells to guarantee that it does not impact non-cancer cells in the body.

“Fascaplysins are rather toxic to non-cancer cells. In our laboratory, we are trying to modify the structure of these compounds in order to reduce their cytotoxic effect on normal cells, while maintaining the necessary antitumor effect. The goal is to create a substance for targeted therapy, with a minimum of side effects for healthy cells of the body,” added the study authors.

Source: 10.3390/md18120609

Image Credit: iStock

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