Marine Drugs (Nov 2011)

Advancement into the Arctic Region for Bioactive Sponge Secondary Metabolites

  • Mark Hamann,
  • Amanda Waters,
  • James Sims,
  • John Bowling,
  • Michelle Kelly,
  • Samuel Abbas

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 11
pp. 2423 – 2437


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Porifera have long been a reservoir for the discovery of bioactive compounds and drug discovery. Most research in the area has focused on sponges from tropical and temperate waters, but more recently the focus has shifted to the less accessible colder waters of the Antarctic and, to a lesser extent, the Arctic. The Antarctic region in particular has been a more popular location for natural products discovery and has provided promising candidates for drug development. This article reviews groups of bioactive compounds that have been isolated and reported from the southern reaches of the Arctic Circle, surveys the known sponge diversity present in the Arctic waters, and details a recent sponge collection by our group in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. The collection has yielded previously undescribed sponge species along with primary activity against opportunistic infectious diseases, malaria, and HCV. The discovery of new sponge species and bioactive crude extracts gives optimism for the isolation of new bioactive compounds from a relatively unexplored source.