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Does sea floor hold key to new medications ?

Posted on Thursday, 31 January, 2013 | Comment icon 14 comments

Image credit: Rubén Laguna

Creatures living at the bottom of the sea could provide powerful new ways to fight infection and disease.

As the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria becomes an ever greater concern, scientists are leaving no stone unturned in researching new medications to help combat infections, illnesses and other health problems. One of the most promising places to look in this regard is the sea, or more precisely, the sea floor. Several species have been identified as potential sources of new treatments.

One such example is the shipworm, a mollusk that affixes itself to wooden boats and feeds on the hull. Researchers have discovered that bacteria used by the creature to convert the wood in to a suitable food source secretes a powerful antibiotic - something that could be particularly valuable for use on humans in the coming years.

"Sea life studies aid researchers in several ways, including the development of new medications and biofuels."

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by WoIverine on 31 January, 2013, 19:00
Yeah, discovered in 2009:
Comment icon #6 Posted by sergeantflynn on 31 January, 2013, 20:18
Very good link .
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin on 31 January, 2013, 20:24
You know, I saw something on TV recently(sorry, can't remember where) which said that it can take 10-15 years before a new therapeutic drug can hit the market be it derived from nature or man-made entirely. This was respect to the US and FDA approval, I think, whereas the "active ingredients(s)" are isolated, tested, re-tested, multi-year human trials, side-effect characterizations, etc... Yes, it was in relationship to how the "Big Pharms" do things under US Law. Don't hit me for mentioning Big Pharm !! I know most of us hate them. I'm just relaying a T... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by WoIverine on 31 January, 2013, 20:46
It wouldn't surprise me. I don't remember which agency it was, but I read that getting new electronics to market is a process as there's testing for radioactivity, and other miscellaneous things as well. I mean...really, we need to test a nintendo for radioactivity? This wasn't the wifi enabled nintendos either. lol
Comment icon #9 Posted by paperdyer on 31 January, 2013, 20:52
Perhaps the sponges' abilities could not be easily mimiced or only worked if you would filter the person's blood through the sponge. Interesting concept though.
Comment icon #10 Posted by pallidin on 31 January, 2013, 21:08
Funny you should mention that! It's the "planar boards" in question. Planar boards are the multi-layered substrate for the electronics... the "board" itself without any electronics. For consumer electronics it's now 2-3 layers when it use to be 5. Not sure what the military does. I think 5 or 7(for strength) Anyway, it is true that some planar boards emit radioactivity from ingredients in construction.. Not harmful to humans at all, I do know that. However, radioactivity can be very harmful to the functional integrity of the semiconductor electronics placed on... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by WoIverine on 31 January, 2013, 23:54
Very cool, thanks for the info.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Yamato on 1 February, 2013, 1:17
We should probably test everything coming out of Japan for radioactivity.
Comment icon #13 Posted by WoIverine on 1 February, 2013, 14:12
Agreed, we should definitely test now, more than ever.

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