Anti-Cancer Bryozoan!


Interesting Facts!

     As both pre-medical students, we wanted an organism that had adaptations or some morphology that impacted the medical field in some way. Since, Bugula neritina has a hand in cancer treatments, we thought it would be a great organism to study!

Does this organism really fight off cancer?

     The organism itself does not really "fight" off cancer, but the organism secretes chemicals called bryosatins that do! Bugula neritina does not secrete these chemicals on its own, but it is believed that they are products of a bacteria that have a symbiotic relationship with the organism.

     Bryosatins are a group of polyketides, which are compounds that have two or more carboxyl groups connected by single carbon atoms. These polyketides in turn create macrolides, which are a group of antibiotics. They are used in cancer treatments and other medicines.  Macrolides have the ability to alter cellular activity. Since cancer is the uncontrollable division of abnormal cells, it is a possibility that the bryosatins can help stop cancer cells from dividing.  They also show promise for enhancing lymphatic cell survival during chemotherapy. This will help keep cancer patient's immune systems from being weakened by radiation (Davidson 2001). Research is still being done on these chemicals, but Bugula neritina is making its way to becoming a very popular medicinal organism, such as Cannabis sativa X indica, Rhizopus stolonifer, and Salix alba !

How diverse are aquatic species in the phylum Bryozoa?

The phylum Bryozoa contains over 6,000 species in aquatic habitats! Out of all those species, Bugula neritina is one of the only species being tested for medical uses.

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