Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel Highly Potent Anticancer Drug From The Sea Identified

Date:
February 20, 2008
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
Scientists have identified a potent new anticancer drug isolated from a toxic blue-green algae found in the South Pacific. The ScA compound was found in "mermaid's hair," gathered off the coast of Fiji. The researcher noted that if a normal-sized swimming pool full of cancer cells were treated with ScA, it would take only three milligrams -- about the weight of a grain of rice -- to kill all of the cancer cells.

ScA causes microvessel death in zebrafish.
Credit: K. Stoletov/R. Klemke

A collaborative team of researchers spearheaded by Dennis Carson M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has identified a potent new anti-cancer drug isolated from a toxic blue-green algae found in the South Pacific. The properties of somocystinamide A (ScA) are described in a paper that will be published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science the week of February 11 -15.

"We are excited because we have discovered a structurally unique and highly potent cancer-fighting compound," said Dwayne G. Stupack, associate professor of pathology at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. "We envision it will be perfect for emerging technology, particularly nanotechnology, which is being developed to target cancerous tumors without toxic side effects."

The ScA compound was found in the cyanobacteria L. Majuscula, also known as "mermaid's hair," gathered off the coast of Fiji in the South Pacific by the laboratory of William Gerwick at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. A diverse team of researchers from UCSD's Cancer Center, School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Scripps worked to identify, screen and test marine compounds in vitro and in vivo. They found that ScA inhibits neovascularization, the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors, and also had a direct impact on tumor cell proliferation.

"The compound isn't toxic to the cyanobacteria itself, but activates a 'death pathway', present in our cells," said Stupack. "When the cells of the blood vessels that feed tumors become activated and proliferate, they become especially sensitive to this agent."

Gerwick noted that if a normal-sized swimming pool full of cancer cells were treated with ScA, it would take only three milligrams -- about the weight of a grain of rice -- to kill all of the cancer cells.

Wolf Wrasidlo, Ph.D., senior project scientist at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center and first author of the work, added that the unique structure of this compound lends itself very well to nanotechnology, because it "incorporates spontaneously" into molecule-sized nanoparticles, important for the kind of highly targeted, combination therapy being developed to treat cancer. The structure is also simple enough that the scientists can reproduce it.

"ScA is the first, and most potent compound we've identified so far," Stupack said, adding that it won't be the last, as the Scripps team has identified more than 250 unique compounds from L. Majuscula alone. "But we don't yet know how abundant ScA is, or if it's feasible to harvest, so it is important that we have been able to produce this natural product in the lab."

Contributors to this paper are first authors Wolf Wrasidlo and Ainhoa Mielgo, as well as Vicente A. Torres, Simone Barbero, Konstantin Stoletov, Richard L. Klemke and Dwayne G. Stupack of UCSD's Department of Pathology and Moores UCSD Cancer Center; Takashi L. Suyama of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; William H. Gerwick, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Dennis Carson, Director of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. The research was funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute, as well as fellowships from the National Swiss Foundation and California Breast Cancer Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "Novel Highly Potent Anticancer Drug From The Sea Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080211172554.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2008, February 20). Novel Highly Potent Anticancer Drug From The Sea Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080211172554.htm
University of California - San Diego. "Novel Highly Potent Anticancer Drug From The Sea Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080211172554.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins