My daughter recently went to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Not only did she enjoy seeing all the marine life, but she learned that the oceans also help humans in many ways. For instance, many pharmaceutical firms are looking to the ocean to see if there are compounds created by sea plants, animals and other organisms that can be used to improve the health of humans.
A post from NOAA provides some examples of chemicals produced by marine animals that may be useful in treating human diseases:
- Ecteinascidin: Extracted from tunicates; being tested in humans for treatment of breast and ovarian cancers and other solid tumors
- Discodermalide: Extracted from deep-sea sponges belonging to the genus Discodermia; anti-tumor agent
- Bryostatin: Extracted from the bryozoan, Bugula neritina; potential treatment for leukemia and melanoma
- Pseudopterosins: Extracted from the octocoral (sea whip) Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae; anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents that reduce swelling and skin irritation and accelerate wound healing
- w-conotoxin MVIIA: Extracted from the cone snail, Conus magnus; potent pain-killer