Could the skin cancer treatment be a complex derived from marine invertebrates in the ocean floor?

A group of scientists led by Dr. Alison Murray of the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Reno believe this, and are looking to the microbiome of the Antarctic called "Synoicum adareanum" to better understand the potential for developing a specific drug for skin cancer.
Medicine from the South Pole

Cysts or "Ascidians" are primitive marine animals that resemble a sac, live linked to the ocean floor all over the world, and feed on plankton by filtering sea water.

It is known that Sinoyak Adarium, which grows in small colonies in the waters around Antarctica, contains a biologically active compound called Palmerolide A, and has promising properties against melanoma, and researchers believe that the compound is caused by bacteria that are associated with it Normally.

The international research team - made up of Murray and collaborators from the University of South Florida, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the French University of Nantes - presented the results of their study in a new paper published this month in the Marine Drugs journal.

Significant results included a measurement of plasma levels through samples collected from the archipelago of the Antwerp Islands in Antarctica, and characterizing the community of bacteria that make up the microbiome or bacteria that coexist with Sinoyek Adarium.
Marine fountains are primitive sac-like and living animals connected to the ocean floor all over the world (Wikipedia)
12 years of study

"Our long-term goal is to find out which of the many bacteria inside this species produce polymers," Murray says. "To do that, there is a lot that we need to know about the microbiome of Sinoyek Adarium."

And "Our new study describes the many developments we have made to achieve this goal over the past few years."

In 2008, Murray worked with doctoral researcher Bill Baker, from the University of South Florida, and researcher for the Postdoctoral Desert Research Institute, Christian Reisenfeld, to publish a study on microbial diversity within a single individual of Cinoychem Adarium.

Their new study builds on this research by describing the microbial diversity of 63 different individuals, collected from all parts of the island of Anvers. Their findings define what researchers call the "basic microbiome" of species, a common group of 21 species of bacteria that were present in more than 80% Of the samples, 6 bacterial types were present in all 63 samples.
Study samples were collected from the deep waters surrounding the Antwerp Archipelago in Antarctica (Wikimedia Commons)
Many keys

"It is the first key for Antarctic science to be able to discover and identify this fundamental microbiome in a fairly large regional study of these organisms," said Murray on the findings of their study.

And she adds, "This is the information we need to get to the next step to identifying a plasma product."

Another "first key" to Antarctic science was the comparison of levels of molybdate across all 63 samples that showed that the compound was present in each sample at high levels (milligrams per gram of all samples).

Further analysis looking at mating relationships between species across the large data set showed some of the ways bacteria interact with each other and with host species in this marine ecosystem.

"The microbiome itself is unique in its composition, and looks very interesting, with a lot of interaction," says Murray. "Our study has opened the doors to understanding the environment of this system."
The new study aims to better understand the potential for developing a drug for skin cancer (Wikimedia)
The future to study genome

From the group of bacteria that the researchers identified as forming the primary microbiome of Sinoykum adarium, the researchers then hope to study the bacterial genome, so that they will finally be able to determine which of the bacteria is produced with mollogen, an important and required progress towards developing skin cancer treatment.

"It will be really big to use this compound to develop a drug to fight skin cancer, because there are very few drugs at the moment that can be used to treat it," says Murray.

"If we can identify the bacteria that produce this chemical, understand its genome, and how to grow it in a laboratory environment, then this will enable us to provide a sustainable supply of palmerolide that will not depend on the harvest of wild populations of these species from Antarctica."

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