Despite the fact that there are about 5000 living species, the bryozoa remain largely unknown to most people. Bryozoans, or "moss animals," are aquatic organisms, living for the most part in colonies of interconnected individuals.
The bryozoa species can be found in many different water types ranging from tropical, polar, to freshwater. Considered nuisances by many because they grow on the bottoms of ships, piers and docks, and have even been known to clog water intakes; others look at bryozoa as life savers.
Researchers have found a species of bryozoa off the California coast that produce a mix of chemicals called bryostatin that appears to prevent the growth of tumors in a variety of human cancers, including melanoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and renal cancer.
Still being tested in more than 40 clinical trials in the United States, many cancer patients have shown marked improvement with relatively minor side effects. That is great news from the depth of the waters where the bryozoans often reside, but the downside is that it takes 14 tons of the species to produce less than one ounce of bryostatin.
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Article courtesy of Aquarius Systems, North Prairie WI
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