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Sea Snail Secretes Anti-cancer Agent

AUSTRALIA - Fresh hopes for cancer research have been found in the slimy mucus produced by a sea snail.

An anti-cancer agent found in the purple secretion that the sea snail uses to protect its eggs could be used to tackle breast cancer, says Tory Shepherd of the Adelaide Advertiser.

The AMP Foundation and Kingsford Financial Group have sponsored Flinders Medical Centre PhD student Mr Chuang Ching Er known to his colleagues as Lawrence - to investigate the link.

According to the Adelaide Advertiser, one of Mr Er's supervisors, Dr Kirsten Benkendorff, said the snails had been used for centuries.

In Roman times they were harvested for the purple dye they produce.

They were also used as a homeopathic remedy for cancers although it turns out the diluted solutions rendered the active compounds useless.