A biologically active substance - a derivative of porphyrin - from the echinoderm living in the seas of Russia, scientists from the School of Biomedicine of the Far Eastern Federal University, together with colleagues from the University of Geneva, were able to isolate. This was reported by the FEFU press service with reference to the specialized magazine Marine Drugs.
The substance was isolated from Ophiursarsii, which was mined at a depth of 15-18 meters in Bogdanovich Bay on Russky Island. Its biologically active molecules have been tested for the ability to inhibit the development of cells of triple-negative breast cancer.
"After the antitumor effect was confirmed, scientists became interested in the formula of the compound. It turned out that it contains a variant of a class of compounds known as porphyrins, which was previously obtained only through complex artificial synthesis. From ophiura it can be obtained without expensive technological processes and everything in one step, "the message says.
Porphyrin is used in photodynamic therapy as an agent that, under the influence of a laser, releases active oxygen and kills tumor cells, minimally affecting healthy ones.
- Photodynamic therapy was invented for the sparing treatment of cancer of the bladder, esophagus, lungs, basal cell carcinoma. Now it is used for various dermatological procedures. Artificial synthesis of porphyrin is quite expensive. We managed to obtain it by a simple method from a natural source. The discovery can serve the development of biomedicine and, in particular, developments in the field of targeted anticancer therapy based on natural compounds, - explains one of the authors of the work, head of the laboratory of pharmacology of natural compounds at the School of Biomedicine, FEFU Vladimir Katanaev.
Scientists have yet to find out whether O. sarsii produces porphyrin compounds on their own or as a result of certain dietary "preferences", and whether O. sarsii synthesizes compounds throughout its vast range or if this is a local phenomenon in the region of Russky Island.