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Marine Fungi May Help Cure For Cancer

Researchers at Canterbury University are hoping to extract compounds from New Zealand marine fungi which may help treat diseases such as cancer.

Kathleen Crisley, Project Manager of the study said, “Fungi are everywhere and they are not necessarily bad for us.

“Some fungi can cause diseases, but others contain compounds that can help us. That has most certainly been the case with terrestrial fungi, which have produced wonder drugs such as penicillin.

“Until now marine fungi have been virtually ignored. We will be testing for pharmaceutical potential which will help us decide whether or not the fungi produce compounds that may help treat diseases, such as cancer,” said Ms Crisley.

The research is an investment of the Foundation for Research Science and Technology through its New Economy Research Fund. This fund supports innovation which develops skills and knowledge in new and emerging industries.

Part of the research program will focus on extracting useful enzymes that occur naturally within certain fungi. Enzymes cause reactions like digestion of food.

“New Zealand marine fungi represent a unique, renewable resource. Products from fungi, if proven to help in the treatment of disease or in other commercial applications, will be of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry,”

“We will be looking for specific enzymes that can be used commercially. We will also be ensuring that the extraction and purification of these enzymes is done in an economic and efficient way.

“This programme will help fill the demand for products that can be sustainably produced from natural, renewable resources using clean technologies,” said Ms Crisley.

For Further infomation:

Kathleen Crisley, Project Manager, Green Products & Processes Initiative, University of Canterbury. Tel 03 364 2217
{ HYPERLINK "mailto:k.crisley@research.canterbury.ac.nz" }k.crisley@research.canterbury.ac.nz


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