Academic curiosity leads to promising cancer treatment | “The Science Show”

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Harran Patrick small

Professor Patrick Harran discussed his research on the molecule DZ-2384 in a recent interview with science journalist Robyn Williams on the popular radio program.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp’s “The Science Show” is considered by many to be the world’s best science broadcast program. Harran was interviewed for the one-hour radio show when Williams recently visited the UCLA campus. The eight-minute interview aired on July 29, 2017.

In the interview, Williams praises Harran’s “amazing results” that can result in “a better kind of chemotherapy.”

To learn more about Harran’s research, visit his group’s website.

From “The Science Show” website:

Academic curiosity leads to promising cancer treatment

Scientists wondering how a small sea invertebrate protects itself may eventually lead to a new cancer drug. The investigation began nearly twenty years ago in 1998. The sea sponge, Diazona angulata unable to move, protects itself with a toxin, diazonamide. The chemical’s structure suggested it may be a useful anti-cancer agent. A similar molecule was eventually produced in the lab. The molecule blocks cell division in human cancer without harming the peripheral nervous system. This painful side effect of current drugs can be so severe, that physicians end up stopping treatment.

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Images above:  (Left)

Diazona violacea

, a sea sponge closely related to

Diazona angulate

. (Right) Patrick Harran and Hui Ding photo with a model of DZ-2384 (UCLA).