Mother Nature’s new gift to prevent and treat bone diseases

More than half of today`s medications are in Largazole`s family, the `natural products.`

Updated: Feb 03, 2011, 13:11 PM IST

Washington: A new discovery of a substance—obtained from a coral-reef inhabiting cyanobacterium—may pave way for new drugs to prevent and treat bone diseases.
By some estimates, more than half of today`s medications are in Largazole`s family, the ‘natural products.’ They come from trees, snails, scorpion venom, soil bacteria, other plants and animals; however, so far only a few come from the ocean.

In the report, Jiyong Hong, Seong Hwan Kim, Hendrik Luesch and colleagues indicate that Largazole was derived from and named for marine cyanobacteria that grow in Key Largo, Florida.

Largazole has already attracted scientific attention for its ability to kill cancer cells in laboratory experiments, they said.

Their research in laboratory dishes and test animals showed that Largazole has an unusual dual action on injured or diseased bones. It stimulates a process in the body called osteogenesis, which involves the growth of new bone and the repair of damaged bone.

Largazole also blocks the oppose process in which the body naturally breaks down and resorbs bone. Both of those benefits, the scientists found, come from Largazole`s effects on proteins called histone deacetylases, which are a sort of master control switch for protein production.

Drugs that block histone deacetylases are currently used to treat cancer, and they may have other health benefits as well. The researchers also showed that Largazole mixed with collagen and calcium phosphate, bone components, helped heal fractured bones in laboratory mice and rabbits.

The findings have been published in the journal ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters.