A potential drug found in a sea creature can now be made efficiently in the lab | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Help us keep you informed.

Real Science. Real News.


News

A potential drug found in a sea creature can now be made efficiently in the lab

This molecule is made naturally in marine critters but is hard to gather in large enough amounts

By
5:47pm, October 12, 2017
Bugula neritina

MARINE MEDICINE A bryozoan called Bugula neritina, shown here, is a natural source of bryostatin 1, which has been studied as a potential drug for many years.

A seaweed-like marine invertebrate contains a molecule that has piqued interest as a drug but is in short supply: Collecting 14 tons of the critters, a type of bryozoan, yields just 18 grams of the potential medicine. Now, an efficient lab recipe might make bryostatin 1 easier to get.

Making more of the molecule could help scientists figure out whether the drug — which has shown mixed results in limited clinical trials for cancer, HIV and Alzheimer’s disease — will pan out or bomb.

Bryostatin 1, found naturally in a sea creature called Bugula neritina, has been studied as a potential drug for several decades. It interacts with an enzyme in the human body that helps regulate cell growth and control immune response. But finding a way to re-create the molecule in the lab, which would ensure a steady supply for research, has been a challenge. It’s a large, unwieldy molecule with a complex structure — multiple rings and lots of

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More Biomedicine articles

From the Nature Index Paid Content