Seas to be scoured for treasure trove of medicines

16 May 2013

Source: University of Strathclyde

As part of the SeaBioTech project, a team led by Strathclyde’s Professor Brian McNeil has been awarded £6.3 million to scour the seas for chemicals and compounds that can be used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and industrial chemistry sectors.

Professor McNeil, of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, told how – even though marine biodiversity is known to be far greater than that found on land – scientists know remarkably little about the full extent of the world’s underwater resources. He said: “Marine microbial biodiversity can only be guessed at. Very few studies have been done using modern detection techniques – but indications are that there are many new species of micro-organisms awaiting discovery.

“With the application of modern approaches to discovery and identification of such organisms and their products, it is now possible to explore them for potentially useful products, such as antibiotics, other anti-infectives, anti-inflammatories, and anti-cancer treatments. We’re looking to identify new products from the marine environment, such as antibiotics, and find ways to sustainably manufacture them on an industrial scale. We at Strathclyde excel in our ability to find new compounds – such as anti-cancer and anti-infective drugs – and have decades’ worth of experience in testing how effective they are.

For more, go to: www.strath.ac.uk/press/newsreleases/headline_716873_en.html