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Drugs

, Volume 62, Issue 8, pp 1193–1194 | Cite as

ET-743

A Viewpoint by Jos H. Beijnen and Jan H.M. Schellens
  • Jos H. Beijnen
  • Jan H. M. Schellens
Adis New Drug Profile Guest Commentary
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Over 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans and seas housing numerous organisms with an array of biological diversities that sometimes live under extreme conditions. This ecosystem was the cradle of the first plants and animals on the Earth. The current marine organisms have survived and benefited from billions of years of evolutionary changes sometimes in a very hostile environment. It is tempting to believe that these survivors have been successful because of their capacity to synthesise potent toxic compounds and, by that, deter hungry attackers in their habitat. From ancient times it was also known that marine invertebrates (e.g. algae, molluscs, sponges, clams, tunicates) accumulate very potent, toxic compounds; Caesar August was probably assassinated by the toxin from the sea hare Dolabella auricularia. Later, the dolastatins were isolated from this species and have been tested as anticancer drugs in clinical trials. Thus, the marine ecosystem forms an interesting...

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© Adis International Limited 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jos H. Beijnen
    • 1
  • Jan H. M. Schellens
    • 1
  1. 1.The Netherlands Cancer InstituteSlotervaart HospitalAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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