Indian scientists have now suggested that micro-organisms that thrive in the harsh environs of the polar regions may open up new avenues for cancer treatment.
Cryobiologist Shiv Mohan Singh, a senior scientist at the National Center for Antarctic and Ocean Research in Goa and a member of India's first expedition to the Arctic in 2007, said, "Organisms that survive in extreme climatic conditions such as the polar regions synthesize molecules that help them adapt. Useful substances such as antioxidant compounds, cold tolerant enzymes may be applied in healthcare, agriculture and industry."
A team of scientists including Singh and collaborator Satyahari Dey, of the Indian Institute Of Technology, Kharagpur has extracted one such substance called 'thelebolan' from an Antarctic fungus. Singh said, "Thelebolan has potential anti-cancer properties since it could stall tumor cell growth and induce cell death in cancer cell lines."
Singh further added, "There is a lot of scope from bio-prospecting in the polar regions and we have to tap the region's potential since incidence of cancer has increased and spectrum of cancer-prone organs is changing each year."