'Instructions' for producing anti-cancer compound found in corals

University of Utah Health researchers say soft corals create anti-cancer

compound is eleutherobin. They identified the source and compounds and found the DNA code to synthesize the chemical. The authors managed to partially recreate it in the laboratory.

This discovery makes it possible to create compounds in large quantities. Further, this will be thoroughly tested and, perhaps, this will lead to the creation of a new drug to fight cancer.

Soft corals contain thousands of medicinalcompounds that can act as anti-inflammatory agents, antibiotics, and more. But getting connections in large numbers is difficult. This slows down the process of creating drugs from them.

Corals use their chemicalsto scare off predators that try to eat them. Because they are made to be eaten, the body absorbs the mild coral chemicals easily. Medicines made from these types of compounds will be available as tablets rather than injections. These compounds are harder to find but easier to make in the lab and more convenient to take as a drug, the authors note.

The authors of the work used a new approach toget enough eleutherobin. They determined whether the coral's genetic code contained "instructions" for making the compound. This turned out to be true. The researchers found stretches of coral DNA that resembled the genetic instructions for similar types of connections in other species.

Next, they modified the bacteria to follow these DNA instructions and repeated the first steps to create an anti-cancer compound.

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