Skip to comments.Compound from Coral Could Combat Cancer - Nature holds treasure trove of 'new' compounds
Posted on 03/16/2006 6:31:39 AM PST by S0122017
March 13, 2006
Compound from Coral Could Combat Cancer
Natural compounds have proven to be a treasure trove of medicinal properties. For example, the bark of the Pacific yew tree yielded a compound that has helped battle some forms of cancer. Such finds have led to a new industry--bioprospecting--and such prospectors have fanned out across the globe in search of nature's remedies. Now a compound isolated from coral collected off the coast of Okinawa has shown the ability to slow down and possibly prevent virus replication and it may hold promise as a cancer treatment. Isis hippuris is a yellow, branching coral found in the tropical waters of the western Pacific. By grinding it up and treating it with methanol, researchers isolated a natural steroid, dubbed hippuristanol. Biochemist Jerry Pelletier of McGill University and his colleagues tested this steroid's therapeutic abilities. In vitro and in vivo, the steroid blocked a critical step in the process that allows a virus to thrive.
Antibiotics and other modern medicines do not work on viruses because these radically simple organisms infiltrate cells and hijack their processes to serve their own purposes. Such a hijacker virus uses cellular machinery to control the process of building proteins and thereby replicates itself. Based on the team's research, published online yesterday in Nature Chemical Biology, hippuristanol stops this process by inhibiting the function of a protein--eIF4A--that acts as a molecular motor, which the virus relies on to make proteins. "You can selectively block production of proteins from viral mRNAs that rely more heavily on this factor," Pelletier says. "It's very clean in the way it acts on this protein. It's very selective in its mechanism and it doesn't appear to have off-target effects."
These experiments showed that hippuristanol slowed the replication of poliovirus without stopping protein creation in uninfected cells. And because this process appears to spiral out of control in some cancers, hippuristanol might also prove to be a potent chemotherapy. "Any compound that targets these factors opens up a new therapeutic avenue for cancer," Pelletier notes. The only problem will be ensuring a steady supply of the promising compound without denuding the western Pacific's reefs. --David Biello
Impossible - all the reefs bleached and died off due to global warming.
No kidding !! Carrumba and Cripie! What's with the Cs??
Fortunately this is a soft coral, and not on the menu of the dreaded Crown of Thorns star.
Crown of Thorns... yuck!
I know how deadly to the coral that thing is, so when I see one, I spear it and cut it into many small pieces and leave it in the ocean for the fish to eat.
The photo looks like Pocillipora or Montipora.
Headline creator is crazy.
No. I have learned something today.
I understood that a starfish will regenerate from anybody part. In fact, in my daughter's high school marine biology course they were taught that if you cut up a star, put the pieces in a blender with sea water, make a slurry of the stuff, then allow it to sit in a viable sea water aquarium, the slurry would clump and then regenerate into billions of stars.
BTW, I would NEVER cut up a crown and leave the pieces in the water. I would spear them, collect them in a bag and leave the bag up on shore in the hot sun. Crown of Thorns decimate coral in a short amount of time. I've seen that personally.
Only one star seems to be able to regenerate from the arms, the other stars can only regenerate from the central disc (or perhaps from large pieces of the central disc?).
Maybe you can try it out! Only way to know for sure.
I think I will. I'm not in a location right now where that is feasible. But in mid-July I will be in the South Pacific and I'll set up a few experiments.
Aren't coral reefs all over the planet "endangered"? How long before the people who scream about the rape of nature become aware of this possible cure/alleviate, and start screaming when and if coral reefs are harvested?
Many might die due to court orders, injunctions, protests and assorted eco-terrorism.
I've become more and more convinced over the years that the problem with Tree Huggers is not that they love nature so much; it's that they hate humanity that much more.
Let me know the results!
The use of quotes was to convey my opinion that the word endangered is used far too often, and is often used as a convenient excuse to halt progress by the Greenie Meanines (just label something endangered and you get your court order).
Yes, it does get abused sometimes. Which probably does more damage to nature than any machine could have, if you abuse something too often it may loose it's validity.
FReepmail me to be added or removed to the ECO-PING list!
Save the Coral...so we can save people...ooops then you'd endanger the coral.