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This underwater photograph of the Eleutherobia species of
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This underwater photograph of the Eleutherobia species of coral was taken in a remote

June 30, 2010
This underwater photograph of Eleutherobia species of coral was taken in a remote part of Western Australia near the town of Exmouth. This soft-bodied coral (suborder Octocorallia) has developed a powerful chemical defense system to aid in its survival. Researchers conducting chemical studies have defined the major defense agent as eleutherobin, a chemical compound of an unusual type. Subsequent studies found that eleutherobin is a powerful inhibitor of cancer cell growth. Even more significant however, is that the compound shows selective effects against breast, ovarian and melanoma cancers in preliminary testing. Eleutherobin is an important lead compound in the development of new treatments for these forms of cancer.


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