CIOERT has been at the forefront of discovering novel therapeutic agents from marine frontier habitats. Development of aphrocallistin, an anti-cancer compound isolated from the deepwater sponge Aphrocallistes beatrix, was enabled by collection of sponges during CIOERT expeditions. Leiodermatolide, another compound isolated from a deep-water sponge (Leiodermatium), shows anti-tumor activity for pancreatic cancer.
A number of compounds related to the red-tide dinoflagellate Karenia brevis show great potential to treat cystic fibrosis and COPD, and are also in development as a treatment for stroke.
Other novel compounds from the marine environment may help treat Alzheimer’s disease.