VLADIVOSTOK, February 10 – RIA Novosti. Scientists from the School of Biomedicine of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) in Vladivostok, together with colleagues from the University of Geneva, have isolated a biologically active substance from the echinoderm living in the Sea of Japan that can help in the treatment of cancer, according to FEFU.
The source of the new compound was Ophiura sarsii, which was mined at a depth of 15-18 meters in Bogdanovich Bay on Russky Island in Vladivostok. Ophiura, or snaketail, somewhat resembles a starfish, belongs to the type of echinoderms. The species O. sarsii was discovered in 1855, it lives in large numbers on the shallows and at depths, it is easy to get and can be used without threatening nature, the university notes. “Initially, biologically active molecules from O. sarsii were tested for their ability to inhibit cell development three times negative form of breast cancer. After the antitumor effect was confirmed, scientists became interested in the formula of the compound. It turned out that it contains a variant of a class of compounds known as porphyrins, which were previously obtained only through complex artificial synthesis. It can be obtained from ophiura without expensive technological processes and in just one stage “, – the university notes.
Porphyrin is used in photodynamic therapy, it kills tumor cells, minimally affecting healthy ones. Photodynamic therapy was invented for the gentle treatment of cancer of the bladder, esophagus, lungs, basal cell carcinoma. Artificial synthesis of porphyrin is quite expensive, which makes scientists around the world look for new sources of such compounds.
“We managed to obtain it by a simple method from a natural source. The discovery can serve the development of biomedicine and, in particular, developments in the field of targeted anticancer therapy based on natural compounds,” said Vladimir Katanaev, whose words are quoted in the message.
The scientist added that molecules of the porphyrin group are found in other marine organisms. For example, in algae-dinoflagellates, which are to blame for the “red tides” that kill all living things. However, it was not possible to obtain a medical version of the substance from them.
“If the medical efficacy of the substance we have discovered is proven, it is quite possible to scale up its production from natural sources using mariculture methods, or to optimize existing synthesis methods on its basis, simplifying and making them cheaper,” Katanaev says.
Compounds from Ophiur also have a serious potential for blocking WNT signaling pathways in tumor cells, the activation of which becomes one of the reasons for the development of triple-negative forms of breast cancer, stomach cancer, and some other forms of oncology. The anti-WNT potential of new compounds from Ophiuria will be tested in more detail at the next stage of the study.