Doctors Develop Life-Saving Drugs from Coral Reefs
April 24, 2012
The kaleidoscope of life in the coral reefs under the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys is a magnet for tourists, but it's not just a pretty view.
The same chemistry that helps corals and sponges survive is also helping people fight cancer.
"What we're doing is taking advantage of that chemistry and turning those chemicals into drugs to save lives," said Stephanie Wear, director of coral reef conservation at the Nature Conservancy.
Wear describes the reefs as the "New York City" of the oceans, "where everything is happening," because it is 400 to 600 times more likely to find a source for a drug in the ocean than on land -- and the densely packed coral reefs are an even more plentiful source."
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