Consumer Technology seaweed

Published on August 8th, 2009 | by Amiel Blajchman

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New Biogel Fights Heart Disease Developed from Common Brown Seaweed

August 8th, 2009 by  

Yet another reason for protecting the seas and the biodiversity that exists (including nuisance species): scientists at Ben Gurion University in Israel have developed a biogel that helps fight heart disease. The source of this gel? Seaweed.

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Reports are now calling the common brown seaweed the most expensive seaweed known to medical history. In a deal worth over 280 million, Israeli company BioLineRx announced that one of the two compounds developed from the seaweed has been licensed by the New Jersey-based company Ikaria Holdings.

BioLineRx developed a gel (technically a biodegradable polymer) based on the common brown seaweed that creates a protective scaffolding structure between the cells and fibers of the heart. This scaffold enhances the mechanical strength of the heart muscle during recovery and repair, reduces the size of the scar after the heart attack, and may stimulate the growth of new blood vessels and encourage cardiac regeneration after cardiac arrest.

If the common brown seaweed can help heal hearts, what else might there be that’s undiscovered yet being over-exploited?

Image: Ryan McD at Flickr under CC License

 
 
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About the Author

Amiel is the founder of the Globalis Group, an organization whose motto is "combining action and thought for a sustainable world." His experience includes working with the Canadian government on greenspace projects, sustainable development programs and on policy documents on issues as diverse as climate change, sustainable development, and the environmental and social impacts of transportation. He is listed on the UN’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory’s list of GHG experts, and has sat on the Canadian Environmental Certifications Board’s Greenhouse Gas Verification and Validation Certification committee.



  • The oceans and rain forests are virtual treasure chests for new compounds that can help to heal and make us healthy. This heart gel seems to be an amazing find and points to our need to look at the whole sea as an ecosystem of considerable value. Sadly it is too often seen as only something from which to extract resources.

    As an example, efforts on the west coast of Canada to restore salmon populations for the fishery were faring poorly until they realized that excessive housing development had silted over the seaweed beds. Once they started planting and protecting seaweed forests, those trying to restore the salmon population started to see that small fish, including young salmon, had a place to hide within the beds, other creatures started to inhabit them and the salmon populations started to increase.

  • The oceans and rain forests are virtual treasure chests for new compounds that can help to heal and make us healthy. This heart gel seems to be an amazing find and points to our need to look at the whole sea as an ecosystem of considerable value. Sadly it is too often seen as only something from which to extract resources.

    As an example, efforts on the west coast of Canada to restore salmon populations for the fishery were faring poorly until they realized that excessive housing development had silted over the seaweed beds. Once they started planting and protecting seaweed forests, those trying to restore the salmon population started to see that small fish, including young salmon, had a place to hide within the beds, other creatures started to inhabit them and the salmon populations started to increase.

  • The oceans and rain forests are virtual treasure chests for new compounds that can help to heal and make us healthy. This heart gel seems to be an amazing find and points to our need to look at the whole sea as an ecosystem of considerable value. Sadly it is too often seen as only something from which to extract resources.

    As an example, efforts on the west coast of Canada to restore salmon populations for the fishery were faring poorly until they realized that excessive housing development had silted over the seaweed beds. Once they started planting and protecting seaweed forests, those trying to restore the salmon population started to see that small fish, including young salmon, had a place to hide within the beds, other creatures started to inhabit them and the salmon populations started to increase.

  • The oceans and rain forests are virtual treasure chests for new compounds that can help to heal and make us healthy. This heart gel seems to be an amazing find and points to our need to look at the whole sea as an ecosystem of considerable value. Sadly it is too often seen as only something from which to extract resources.

    As an example, efforts on the west coast of Canada to restore salmon populations for the fishery were faring poorly until they realized that excessive housing development had silted over the seaweed beds. Once they started planting and protecting seaweed forests, those trying to restore the salmon population started to see that small fish, including young salmon, had a place to hide within the beds, other creatures started to inhabit them and the salmon populations started to increase.

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