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Sea sponge molecule stops cervical cancer cell growth in the lab

Date: 6.4.2020 

Scientists at the University of South Carolina have been investigating the cancer-fighting potential of sea sponges for some time, uncovering compounds that proved effective in tackling melanomas, prostate and pancreatic cancers.

Kredit: Samuel Chow/Creative Commons.Their latest work centers on cervical cancer, the fourth most common cancer type among women, with 13,800 new diagnoses and 4,290 deaths expected in the US in 2020, according to the American Cancer Society.

The researchers were testing out the capabilities of manzamine A, which is made naturally by the Acanthostronglyophora ingens sea sponge in Indonesia’s Manado Bay. Through previous studies, manzamine A had been established as an effective combatant against the parasite behind malaria, with studies in rodents showing how it can be used as a single-dose cure.

The team conducted in vitro experiments in the lab where manzamine A was tested against four different cervical cancer cell lines. The scientists found that the compound was effective at stopping the growth of the cancer cells and in some cases caused them to die completely. Importantly, it did so while leaving non-cancerous cells unharmed.

“This is a highly exciting new application for a molecule that has earlier shown significant potential for the control of malaria and has good drug-like properties,” says Mark T. Hamann, co-senior author of the study. “Natural products have led to the development of most of our antibiotics and anti-cancer therapies and many controls for pain."





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