Home pagePress monitoringScientists find new cancer-killing compound in sea snail goo

Scientists find new cancer-killing compound in sea snail goo

Date: 28.8.2019 

The natural world is a huge source of important medicines, and among all the species that scientists turn to for inspiration the humble snail continues to provide the goods. New and improved insulins and painkillers are a couple of possibilities these mollusks have put forward, and researchers have uncovered yet another in the form of an anti-cancer compound sourced from the glands of an Australian sea snail.

Kredit: Kirsten Benkendorff/Southern Cross University.The research was led by scientists from Australia’s Flinders University, Southern Cross University and Monash University, who were investigating the makeup of anti-bacterial substances the white rock sea snail secretes onto its eggs to protect them from the bacteria-rich marine environment.

These properties led the scientists to suspect the purple goo might contain compounds that could also take the fight to cancer. They conducted experiments exposing extracts of the substance to human cancer cell lines and found that they did indeed bring about their death, prompting further investigations to try and understand how.

“We were able to go into a long-term colorectal cancer model,” Catherine Abbott, professor of molecular biology at Flinders University and study author, explains to New Atlas. “This meant we were able to show that one of the compounds in the extract, 6-Br, was able to reduce tumors.“

As with that research, there is a long way to go before this compound is translated into anti-cancer drugs for clinical use, but the early results are promising. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related mortality, with 862,000 deaths in 2018, according to the World Health Organization. So any new tools in the fight would be very welcome indeed.





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