Most people are aware that pollutants in our water can cause a variety of health problems – from chronic gastrointestinal issues to life-threatening cancers. But what some people may find surprising is that clean water isn’t just important for the prevention of disease; it’s also essential for the creation of cancer-fighting drugs.
Sea sponges have been used to produce Ara-C and Halaven, two drugs that are improving the survival rate of patients with cancer. Scientists believe that the lifeforms that thrive among the coral reefs may one day help to produce drugs that will help combat other diseases like AIDS, Lupus, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
In order to counteract the destructive effect of pollution and climate change on coral reefs, environmentalists have begun to cultivate coral reefs on farms to later be replanted in the sea and harvested for their medical properties.
For Dr. Linda Vahdat, an oncologist with New York Presbyterian Hospital, the natural components of drugs have been proven over time and should be protected for the use of future generations:
“For millennia there have been natural products used to treat tumors and we know it from the ancient Egyptian writings — and certainly moving into contemporary space we use a lot of natural products to treat our patients with breast cancer.”
Dr. Vahdat has been named One of America’s Leading Experts on Breast Cancer. For more information on Dr. Vahdat, visit her Vitals profile.