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A. Discovering a Treasure Trove of Drugs in the Sea

Narrator: This is Science Today. Small marine animals called bryozoans commonly live on the bottoms of boats, piers and rocks underwater. Because of this, researcher Margo Haygood of the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, says in the past, these organisms were considered a nuisance and a lot of funding was spent to try and get rid of them.

Haygood: It was in the 1960s that a group began to screen invertebrates for anticancer activity and discovered it in this very well known, very familiar organism. And since then, there's been a great deal of research on the compounds that are found in this animal and they do have tremendous promise for treating cancer.

Narrator: Haygood and her colleagues isolated the bacteria within these organisms that produces the anticancer compound and are now working on methods to commercially supply this compound.

Haygood: If we can use the kinds of methods that we're using here, we can unlock that potential and take advantage of the biological diversity of the ocean for treatment of human problems.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.