Algae Chemical Tested Against Colon Cancer

KEY LARGO, Fla., Oct. 3 (UPI) — Algae living in the waters of the Florida Keys may provide a drug to fight colon cancer, scientists say.

Largazole, named for the blue-green algae beds of Pickles Reef, off Key Largo, has shown great potential against the deadly disease, Hendrik Luesch, a professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Florida who named the compound, told The Miami Herald.

The oceans have been a largely untapped source of drugs, but now many compounds extracted from marine organisms are being researched.

So far, only two marine-based drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Prialt, a non-narcotic painkiller derived from the venom of cone snails, is used to treat severe chronic pain in people failed by standard drugs.

Yondelis, made from orange sea squirts that grow on the roots of mangroves in the Florida Keys, is used to treat advanced soft tissue sarcoma abroad.

Although developed in the United States, Yondelis has yet to receive FDA approval for sarcoma, but it is approved for women with relapsed ovarian cancer.

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