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Quote of the Day - She knows what works and doesn't work in the Superfund program. - Robert Toricelli

Toxic Superfund Site Turns Out Cancer-fighting Organisms

You've likely heard from any number of environmental organizations that we need to save the rain forest because there are so many life-saving compounds in it that have yet to be discovered. 

You may not have heard about the same reasoning applied to a Superfund site.

That's right.  According to this Business Week article, a 30 billion (yes, with a "b") gallon toxic lake in Butte, Montana, known as the Berkeley Pit Lake, produces not just one, but three helpful biological goodies.

First are two cancer-fighting organisms.  The first is known as an extremophile (what else?) and it fights cells that can cause ovarian cancer.  The second is a microbial substance that fights lung cancer.  There's a third substance, too, and this one blocks nerve cell receptors and calms migraine headaches. 

So far these organisms have only been tried in test tubes, but the Journal of Organic Chemistry published the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health.  There's hope for us yet.

Who knew?

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, August 07, 2006

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