Tropical seaweed that contains natural fungicides is the surprising source for antimalarial drug leads. The bromophycolides are found at injury sites on the surface of the seaweed. The work is part of a long-term study of chemical signaling among organisms that are part of coral reef communities. Julia Kubanek, an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Biology and School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, suggests that, "We can co-opt these chemical processes for human benefit in the form of new treatments for diseases." The bromophycolides tested positive in the laboratory against the malaria parasite and the next step will be to test the lead compounds in a mouse model.
Seaweed fights malaria