Drugs from the Ocean

ocean-ecosystemScientific advancements are all around us. The next great frontier is the Ocean and a potential area of study is the improvement in our medicines and treatment.

This research would expand our understanding of the creatures of the deep as well as the organisms unseen. New research for medical purposes may be starting or advancing within the oceans of the world.

This advancing science is referred to as “Marine Bioprospecting” which may give hope for new found cures for cancer, disease, medications, and new antibiotics.

Currently there may be as many as 20+ medications being reviewed and researched that have a base from this salty mine.

Many ask…why the ocean??

Really, comparatively, little is known with regards to the ocean. This vast landscape underwater is home to thousands of large and small animals and bacteria. Many still escape our grasp and knowledge. Many organisms of the ocean must be able to overcome a vast amount of changes and extreme temperature changes.

Several harsh conditions exist within the ocean from depth to pressure to temperature to location. The vastness of the ocean with its several ecosystems is beyond amazing.

Research in caves, rain forests, lakes, warm springs, and other specific locations have given hope for new medical advances.

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William Fenical, a professor at the University of California in oceanography and pharmaceutical science had this to say “It would be difficult to overlook such a massive resource for chemical diversity and drug discovery.”

Some in opposition however may fear that damage or potential harm to the ecosystem may be in the near future. Those involved in such research believe that relatively little impact will be made on the ocean and its’ environment.

The biggest apparent obstacle that impedes the research road currently is cost benefit.  Although several possible findings may be “just around the corner”.  The funding appears to currently lag behind. One thing will really kick things into gear would be a new and effective drug success.

I guess we will see what the secrets and treasures the deep ocean can bring in the near future.

 

An article was also seen on National Geographic at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/05/090514-marine-drugs_2.html

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