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Coral reef

Coral reef bacteria found to protect bone health, fight cancer

Monday, March 07, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: coral reef, bone health, health news

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(NaturalNews) Scientists from the University of Florida (UF) have identified a substance in the bacterium of some varieties of coral reef that helps heal injured and deteriorating bones, as well as prevent bone loss and degradation. Published in the journal ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, the findings reveal that largazole, the key component, is an effective bone remedy with lots of potential. It is also an effective anti-cancer treatment, according to earlier research.

Reports indicate that components similar to largazole are already used in a variety of popular medications. Bacteria containing such substances come from various trees, plants, soil, and animals. But the recent discovery of the substance in the coral reefs of Key Largo, Fla., offers added potential as scientists were able to identify key cell regeneration properties in this particular variety of the substance that were previously unknown.

"Largazole's ability to reprogram cells can also be exploited for tissue regeneration, and we initially focused on potential bone-forming properties of largazole," said Hendrik Luesch, Ph.D., associate professor of medicinal chemistry at the UF College of Pharmacy. He and assistant professor Jiyong Hong, Ph.D., from Duke University performed extensive testing on largazole's ability to regenerate bones and came up with some amazing findings.

They found that largazone initiates the process of osteogenesis in the body, which is when the body begins not only to repair damaged bones but also to grow new bone tissue. And at the same time it performs this function, largazole also prevents bones from breaking down and being reabsorbed back into the body. The implications of this dual effect are highly promising for people who suffer from bone fractures, osteoporosis, and other bone diseases.

"This data clearly shows the great potential of largazole for improvement of the property of bone graft substitutes in bone defect reconstruction," said Seong Hwan Kim, Ph.D., a researcher from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical technology who also performed tests on the osteogenesis properties of largazole.

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