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Discovery and development of anticancer agents from marine sponges: perspectives based on a chemistry-experimental therapeutics collaborative program
Frederick A. Valeriote, Karen Tenney, Joseph Media, Halina Pietraszkiewicz, Matthew Edelstein, Tyler A. Johnson, Taro Amagata and Phillip Crews

A collaborative program was initiated in 1990 between the natural product chemistry laboratory of Dr. Phillip Crews at the University of California Santa Cruz and the experimental therapeutics laboratory of Dr. Fred Valeriote at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. The program focused on the discovery and development of anticancer drugs from sponge extracts. A novel in vitro disk diffusion, solid tumor selective assay was used to examine 2,036 extracts from 683 individual sponges. The bioassay-directed fractionation discovery component led to the identification of active pure compounds from many of these sponges. In most cases, pure compound was prepared in sufficient quantities to both chemically identify the active compound(s) as well as pursue one or more of the biological development components. The latter included IC50, clonogenic survival-concentration exposure, maximum tolerated dose, pharmacokinetics and therapeutic assessment studies. Solid tumor selective compounds included fascaplysin and 10-bromofascaplysin (Fascaplysinopsis), neoamphimedine, 5-methoxyneoamphimedine and alpkinidine (Xestospongia), makaluvamine C and makaluvamine H (Zyzzya), psymberin (Psammocinia and Ircinia), and ethylplakortide Z and ethyldidehydroplakortide Z (Plakortis). These compounds or analogs thereof continue to have therapeutic potential.

Keywords: Anticancer drugs, natural products, marine sponges

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