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News Release - Marine sponge could hold the key to treating metastatic cancers

Monday, December 3, 2018

KINGSTON - A multidisciplinary team at Queen’s University led by researchers Andrew Craig, John Allingham and P. Andrew Evans have discovered a natural product toxin found in marine sponges that live in the ocean can be used for the treatment of metastatic cancers.

“Cancer therapies are designed to target the Achilles’ heel of cancer cells and thereby limit tumour growth or survival,” explains Dr. Craig. “However, many cancers can overcome current therapies, spread to other sites (metastasis), and this may lead to patient death. Using the toxin Mycalolide B found in marine sponges, we feel it could be a good candidate to test as an anti-metastatic cancer drug.”

The research team demonstrated suppressive effects of the toxin on the growth and motility of ovarian and breast cancers.

Dr. Craig says with this new research complements existing therapies for cancer by reducing the risk of cancer spread to other sites. He predicts the drugs the team develops will be able to be given along with other anti-cancer drugs.

This research is supported by a grant from the Collaborative Health Research Partnerships program that is jointly funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Natural Sciences an Engineering Research Council of Canada.

The research was published in Scientific Reports, a Nature publication.

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Contact

Anne Craig, Media Relations Officer

613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca

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