Scientists are searching the seas for new pharmaceutical compounds

05/7/2014 |

PharmaSea, a four-year project to discover new bioactive compounds in the ocean, is focusing on molecules that could address infection and inflammation, as well as hard-to-treat diseases and neurodegenerative conditions. European scientists have collected samples from the Arctic Ocean and the Irish section of the Atlantic, with plans to collect specimens from the mid-Atlantic ridge and the nearly 5-mile-deep Chile-Peru Trench this year. Researchers in Belgium have found promising extracts for epilepsy and central nervous system diseases, while Norwegian researchers are testing extracts to fight cancer and inflammation, and Spanish scientists are investigating extracts with antibacterial properties. "The key is to make the pipeline as efficient as possible to make it attractive for industry to want to investigate compounds from natural sources again," said project leader Marcel Jaspers of the University of Aberdeen.

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