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How might we increase success in marine-based drug discovery? (Editorial)

Desbois AP (2014) How might we increase success in marine-based drug discovery? (Editorial), Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery, 9 (9), pp. 985-990.

Drug discovery from marine organisms has been underway for > 60 years and there have been notable successes in discovering, developing and introducing clinical agents derived from marine sources. Such examples include: the analgesic ziconotide and the anti cancer compound trabectedin. However, in light of the pressing need for new drugs, particularly those with anti-infective and anticancer properties, there is strong justification for increased exploration of marine organisms as sources of novel compounds. This article considers approaches that might enhance our chances of delivering new medicines from marine-based drug discovery efforts. Consideration is given to the organisms and habitats deserving of more attention and how we might make best use of these marine genetic resources. In particular, the opportunities offered by synthetic biology are highlighted because these methods allow drug discoverers to explore pathways in 'non-culturable' species and turn on natural product biosynthesis genes that are difficult to activate under laboratory conditions (so-called 'silent' gene clusters).

actinomycete; combinatorial biosynthesis; infectious disease; natural products; synthetic biology

AuthorsDesbois Andrew P
Publication date09/2014
Publication date online07/06/2014
PublisherInforma Healthcare
ISSN 1746-0441

Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery: Volume 9, Issue 9 (2014-Jun-7)

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