David J. Newman, PhD. Chief, NCI-FCRDC Natural Products Branch NIH DHHS, Bethesda MD
We are most familiar with the “molecular mining” history with respect to cytotoxicity and its relationship to cancer chemotherapeutic agent development. While important, the relationship between oceans and human health is much broader. Discovery of new bioactive materials is an ongoing quest. Isolated molecules are often followed by description of chemistry and molecular mechanism; mechanism providing crucial drug development information. The symposium introduces the audience to speakers from academia, industry, and the governmental technology development realms. Examples of product development stage range from initial discovery, to broad mechanism-based application, and to adaption of ocean nutraceuticals for optimum uptake. The potential of marine natural products to act as promoters of human well-being will be considered, and the steps needed to successfully translate discovery into product, addressed.
Bioluminescent signals spatially amplified by wavelength-specific diffusion through the shell of a marine snailLast Updated on 2011-01-03 00:00:00Some living organisms produce visible light (bioluminescence) for intra- or interspecific visual communication. Here, we describe a remarkable bioluminescent adaptation in the marine snail Hinea brasiliana. This species produces a luminous display in response to mechanical stimulation caused by encounters with other motile organisms. The light is produced from discrete areas on the snail’s body beneath the snail’s shell, and must thus overcome this structural barrier to be viewed by an external receiver. The diffusion and transmission efficiency of the shell is greater than a commercial diffuser reference material. Most strikingly, the shell, although opaque and pigmented, selectively diffuses the blue-green wavelength of the species bioluminescence. This diffusion generates a luminous display that is enlarged relative to the original light source. This unusual shell thus... More »
Natural product scaffolds as leads to drugs Last Updated on 2011-01-03 00:00:00Numerous "scaffolds" that have been identified in natural product structures have led to very significant numbers of approved drugs and drug candidates for a multiplicity of diseases over the years. In this mini-review, we discuss the base scaffolds (chemical skeletons) that we feel have produced very significant numbers of agents as drugs or drug leads and, in a number of cases, compounds that can be used as chemical synthons or that present activities in biological areas that were not obvious from their earlier history. More »
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