Friday 25th May 2012
A "nuisance" type of seaweed found in corals in Hawaii could provide a key substance to treating inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
Researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego found that the seaweed contains a tiny photosynthetic organism known as cyanobacterium that produces a chemical compound with the ability to emit anti-inflammatory agents and combat bacterial infections.
While the substance has never been tested on humans, it was first discovered in 2008 to have been generating other anti-inflammatory products known as honaucins and doctors concluded that they could be used to treat people with diseases that related to these symptoms.
Jennifer Smith, Scripps assistant professor in the Scripps Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, said: "Several species of cyanobacteria and algae are known to produce novel compounds, many that have promising use in drug development for human and other uses."
According to NHS statistics, around ten million people in the UK suffer from arthritis, with osterarthritis counting for 8.5 million cases.
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written by Martin Lambert