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Tomorrow's life-saving medications may currently be living at the bottom of the sea
Date:1/29/2013

ose ships.

The research team initially focused on shipworms because the animals' creative use of bacteria to convert wood a poor food source lacking proteins or nitrogen into a suitable food source where the animal can both live and feed.

This research revealed that one form of bacteria utilized by shipworms secretes a powerful antibiotic, which may hold promise for combatting human diseases.

"The reason why this line of research is so critical is because antibiotic resistance is a serious threat to human health," said Margo Haygood, Ph.D., a member of the OHSU Institute of Environmental Health and a professor of science and engineering in the OHSU School of Medicine.

"Antibiotics have helped humans battle infectious diseases for over 70 years. However, the dangerous organisms these medications were designed to protect us against have adapted due to widespread use. Without a new class of improved antibiotics, older medications are becoming less and less effective and we need to locate new antibiotics to keep these diseases at bay. Bacteria that live in harmony with animals are a promising source. "

Cone snails: Another possible yet surprising source for new medicines
Published in the current edition of the journal Chemistry and Biology

A team led by researchers from the University of Utah, and including OHSU and the University of the Philippines researchers, took part in a separate study of cone snails collected in the Philippines. Cone snails are also mollusks. There have been few previous studies to determine if bacteria associated with these snails might assist in drug development. This is because the snails have thick shells and they can also defend themselves through the use of toxic venoms. Because of the existence of these significant defensive measures, it was assumed that the bacteria they carry do not have to produce additional chemical defenses that might also translate into hu
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Contact: Jim Newman
newmanj@ohsu.edu
503-494-8231
Oregon Health & Science University
Source:Eurekalert

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