Could sponges in the ocean cure cancer? Not likely, but the chemicals emitted from certain sponges may play a role in interfering with cancer growth, as well as repressing a target enzyme linked to Alzheimer's disease.
MIT researchers, led by Associate Professor Mohammad Movassaghi, have figured out a way to synthesize six agelastatins, the chemicals emitted by sponges in the Agelas family. To date, the problem in testing the agelastatins as a potential cancer cure has been in finding enough sponges to conduct studies. MIT is reporting its team to be the first researchers to be able to synthesize the entire line of six compounds in "relatively large quantities."
Read more on MIT's research and synthesizing capabilities and how it could potentially affect cancer research.