The antidote against the brain-eating amoeba, in red algae

Red algae in a stock image.

This organism is the cause of a serious brain infection whose mortality rate is 97%.

EFE Santa Cruz of Tenerife

The universities of La Laguna and Rio de Janeiro finalize the patent application for a substance derived from the
red algae which has considerable
bioactive properties against strains of Naegleria, a parasite known as the
'brain-eating' amoeba.

This organism, scientifically known as Naegleria fowleri, is the cause of a serious brain infection whose
mortality rate rises to 97%.

Researchers from both universities have isolated the secondary metabolites produced by red algae, typical of waters from temperate climates that proliferate in areas near the islands, and which have been shown to be an antidote against the 'eating amoeba'.

The experiments to which these marine metabolites are the object, with which the chemical ecology work has been carried out, are carried out in a highly advanced biosafety laboratory located in Brazil.

The antitumor analyses, for their part, are carried out at the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands of the University of La Laguna, which has a recognized track record in research on amoebas, the academic institution highlights in a statement.

The achievement of this future patent is the result of
almost a decade of collaboration in the development of a line of research on red algae of the genus Laurencias, developed by researchers from the Antonio González University Institute of Bio-Organics (IUBO-AG) and the Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

The researcher of the Department of Organic Chemistry of the IUBO, José Javier Fernández Castro, who directs the research together with the professor of the Brazilian institute, Angélica Ribero Soares, explains that at the moment there is a library of natural products from which they have been selected. those that give a positive control because they have a "good activity for this type of disease", for which there are currently not many drugs.

“The important thing and first, right now, is to develop and have a molecule that has bioactivity; then, that all the in vivo tests work properly with the samples that we have and, subsequently, carry out a chemical development that allows these substances to be available in sufficient quantities so that human tests can be carried out and give way to commercialization, something for which we still there is a long way to go”, explains Fernández.

Angélica Ribero details that the red algae, whose samples are currently being studied,
They are found both in the waters of the Canary Islands and in those of Brazil.for which the chemical production of both sides is being compared, in addition to taking the opportunity to study compounds and pharmacological screenings with which to find uses for these compounds.

After years of cooperation, both researchers have been able to work hand-in-hand for the first time at the University of La Laguna, where Professor Angélica Ribero has stayed for a while thanks to the short-stay grant program for research staff financed by the Vice-Rectorate for Research and Transfer.

This first visit by Ribero has made it possible to advance in the research and finalize a future collaboration agreement that will later give way to a framework agreement between the two universities to consolidate the work that is underway.

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