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UK centre to develop drugs from sea

A new centre has opened in Aberdeen that will focus on research and development using natural resources found in the sea

A new centre has opened in Aberdeen that will focus on research and development using natural resources found in the sea.

The University of Aberdeen Marine Biodiscovery Centre cost £1.6m and will aim to bring together chemists and biologists to develop new medicines using unique marine organisms – one of only a few centres in the world to do so.

Professor Marcel Jaspars, director of the centre, said: "The greatest diversity of life on our planet can be found in the world's seas in the form of marine organisms which live in a huge variety of habitats.

"Scientists at the University of Aberdeen have been conducting research exploring how the rich and diverse range of unique compounds which exist in these organisms can be used in the development of drugs and other novel biomedical products, for a number of years.

"The creation of the new Marine Biodiscovery Centre is allowing us to advance our research using state-of-the-art technologies, and work towards important new breakthroughs in this crucial area of medical discovery."

Research being conducted at the centre includes using bacteria found in oceans to find compounds to treat bacterial infections and parasitic diseases, as well as producing compounds from coral reef fungi to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases.

There is a symposium at the university over 15/16 June, 2010 to launch the centre, with leading scientists in biomedicine and biotechnology in attendance.

Keynote speakers include Simon Munt from PharmaMar - a pharmaceutical company which has already developed a novel marine compound for the treatment of cancer.

More information about the project is available from the University of Aberdeen

15th June 2010

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